In spite of the hubbub surrounding the appearance of “clock kid” Ahmed Mohamed at the White House, President Obama didn’t make him the center of attention during an event that was squarely focused on astronomy.
The president made brief remarks at the White House’s “Astronomy Night” before peering through a telescope and visiting briefly with a few of the attendees.
“We have to encourage those glimmers of curiosity,” Obama said during his remarks which highlighted the scientific curiosities of children around the country, but he did not refer to Mohamed’s experience.
According to the White House press pool, Ahmed Mohamed was in the third row of the audience.
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) October 19, 2015
— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) October 20, 2015
In September, President Obama invited Mohamed to the White House after hearing about his detainment by law enforcement, posting an encouraging message to the student on Twitter.
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
Mohamed willingly accepted the invitation to visit Obama, tweeting afterwards that he couldn’t wait to get his clock back and show it to the president.
— Ahmed Mohamed (@IStandWithAhmed) September 22, 2015
But the White House hinted on Monday that it was unlikely that Obama would personally visit with boy or look at his clock. “I don’t believe that the president will have the opportunity to meet with meet one-on-one with Ahmed Mohamed,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
In an interview with reporters this morning, Mohamed admitted that he didn’t bring his clock to Washington D.C. “because he’s been too busy traveling to pick it up from home,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
During his visit, he also attended a Council on American-Islamic Relations gala while he was in Washington D.C., according to the same report, and visited the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Since obtaining his newfound celebrity, the 14-year-old boy has been traveling the world visiting major tech groups and world leaders.
Just recently he posed for a photo with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a known dictator accused of waging genocide in Darfur.
During his globetrotting, he also had the chance to visit Mecca with his family, as part of a Saudi government sponsored pilgrimage.
He also made an appearance on the Dr. Oz’s science fair and spent time with Google co-founder Sergey Brin at the Google Science Fair.