President Obama is facing an onslaught of criticisms — from even those on the left in his camp — for his back-to-back progression of comforting the parents of murdered U.S. journalist James Foley to teeing off at the golf course.
Mr. Obama first called Foley’s parents, John and Diane, at their New Hampshire home to offer words of comfort and relay the fact he was “heartbroken” by the beheading of their son at the hands of the Islamic State terrorists, The New York Times reported. Minutes later, Mr. Obama gave a news conference from Martha’s Vineyard, telling the nation that he would ensure “justice is done” in the attack, Newsmax reported.
Then he went on to a five-hour golf game at Farm Neck Golf Course — his seventh game in 10 days, The Washington Post reported.
Even Democrats say the optics aren’t good.
“As a general rule, I think that he’s right that you can’t be held hostage to the news cycle — the man deserves a bit of downtime,” Democratic strategist Jim Manley told The New York Times. “But in this particular instance, I think a lot of Democrats flinched a little bit.”
Mr. Manley said the beheading was shocking and that the video was widely seen — and the fact that Mr. Obama simply headed off for a golf game was tough for many to take.
“[The video] was just so shocking that the idea that he was going to immediately run to the golf course was just a little too much for folks,” Mr. Manley said, Newsmax reported. “It was tone-deaf.”
Mr. Manley is not alone in that view.
Vox Editor-in-chief Ezra Klein, who normally backs Mr. Obama, said: “Critiques of presidential vacations are dumb. But golfing today is in bad taste.”