Not long after he addressed the brutal killing of American journalist James Foley earlier this week, President Obama hit the links. It’s an annual summer ritual in partisan politics to criticize the President for enjoying recreation “while the world burns,” but the volume of denunciations toward Obama’s round this week was particularly striking.
The optics, everyone from Fox News’ Eric Bolling to Politico’s Dylan Byers seemed to agree, were very, very bad.
Vox’s Ezra Klein said that it was “bad taste” for Obama to play a round after delivering the statement on Foley.
“Not sure how to reconcile,” Klein added on Twitter.
“Prez tees off as Foley’s parents grieve,” blared the headline on the cover of Thursday’s New York Daily News, replete with a photo of a grinning Obama driving a golf cart.
Breitbart’s John Nolte wrote that even “Obama’s media Palace Guards” were upset by the round. Politico’s Ben White went as far to suggest that Obama’s golfing could jeopardize the Democrats’ chances of holding onto to the Senate.
But Obama’s advisers said they weren’t too bent out of shape about all the optics talk.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Obama has traditionally resisted what he sees as the empty political gesture of abruptly upending his schedule in reaction to the latest crisis. Aides said the golf game did not reflect the depth of his grief over Mr. Foley, noting that the president had just spoken with his parents that morning. “His concern for the Foleys and Jim was evident to all who saw and heard his statement,” said Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director.
The Times reported that aides don’t think Obama had watched the video of Islamic radicals beheading Foley, and they “did not think he should.”