In a rare admission of error, the White House said Monday that President Obama or another high-level representative should have joined other world leaders at an anti-terror rally in Paris.
While leaders from Europe, the Middle East and Africa linked arms for the march through Paris, the U.S. was represented by its ambassador to France. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris for meetings but did not attend the march.
“It’s fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. The administration also announced that Secretary of State John Kerry, who was on a long-planned trip to India Sunday, will visit France later this week.
The White House appeared to have been caught off-guard by both the scope of international representation at the rally and by the criticism of the decision to send only Ambassador Jane Hartley. Monday’s admission of error seemed aimed at blunting criticism that the decision was tone-deaf or disrespectful of the long-standing U.S. alliance with France.