For the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, heads of state from France, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland will attend, but not the President of the United States. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the President “will be in India, on a long scheduled trip.”
President Obama is sending Jack Lew, the first Orthodox Jewish Treasury Secretary to the commemoration. Secretary Lew will be leading a delegation of State Department officials and Auschwitz survivors.
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Following the absence of any U.S. government representation in Paris in the rally following the terrorist shootings in Paris, there has been some criticism of Obama for not attending himself after the Paris fiasco. Chief of Staff Denis McDonough took responsibility for the failure to send anyone to Paris from the Administration. A week after the rally, Secretary of State Kerry brought James Taylor to perform “You’ve Got a Friend” in a much-ridiculed, half-hearted gesture of solidarity. But let’s face it, it’s still a good song.
Some of the harshest critics of the President for not going to the Auschwitz commemoration, not surprisingly, were on Twitter.
Maria Heider tweeted, “Since when is a Treasury Secretary an emissary for the United States?” R commented, “No Obama, no Biden, no Kerry. They’re sending Jack Lew to Auschwitz. Because Treasury Sec. is who you really want to send … makes sense.”