White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reacted to the news that House Speaker John Boehner had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress, calling it a “departure from protocol.”
“The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he is traveling there and that’s certainly is how President Obama’s trips are planned when we travel overseas,” he said. “This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”
Netanyahu’s visit was announced earlier this morning after Obama’s State of the Union address. Earnest said that the White House found out about the trip shortly before Boehner’s announcement.
Earnest said that the White House “hadn’t heard directly from the Israelis at all” and didn’t know if the Prime Minster would be visiting the White House during his trip.
“We’ll need to hear from them about what their plans are and what he plans to say in his remarks to Congress before we have a decision to make about any meeting,” Earnest explained, pointing out that the White House would “reserve judgement” about the trip until they had conversations with Israeli officials.