Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — Instead of remaining silent, President Obama should have immediately denounced the failure of Libya and Egypt to protect the American embassies there, Richard Grenell, the former U.S. spokesman at the United Nations, tells Newsmax.
“I think the president should have immediately spoken out to condemn the developing situation, to call attention to a troubled spot on 9/11, and to call upon the leaders of Libya and Egypt to protect our embassies and publically put them on notice that we are watching,” Grenell says.
“Instead, the president was silent for 15 hours,” Grenell says. “Then the first words of his campaign were to condemn Mitt Romney, and then he went back to the White House and waited.”
The next day, Obama said in a Rose Garden statement that an investigation was under way into the murders of four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens. Well after his remarks about Benghazi, Obama said that “no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”
In an allusion to a YouTube video, he said the United States rejects efforts to denigrate religious beliefs.
“He didn't take any questions and went back into the White House for his trip to Las Vegas,” Grenell says. “This is the man who told us that he was going to have the most transparent government, and yet he doesn’t take questions.”
That same day, Obama was interviewed by “60 Minutes” and defended his Mideast policies as aligning the country with democracy, saying, “There are going to be bumps in the road.”
The longest-serving U.N. spokesman, Grenell advised four U.S. ambassadors — John D. Negroponte, John C. Danforth, John R. Bolton, and Zalmay Khalilzad — on the formulation and articulation of U.S. policy at the United Nations.
As noted in my story, "U.S. Spokesman at the U.N. Makes His Mark
," as director of communications and public diplomacy for the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, Grenell had a no-nonsense approach, quickly responding to attacks against the United States.
“Ric Grenell is one of the sharpest press officers I’ve dealt with,” James Rosen, chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, told me for the story. “He knows the policy underlying the talking points, the personalities, and the issues. He also understands the black-is-white, up-is-down bizarro world that the United Nations can sometimes become. Ric can be exceptionally helpful to an honest reporter — when he wants to be . . .”
In the case of the protests in Egypt, “If you are a U.S. diplomat and you were watching as the Muslim Brotherhood is climbing over the U.S. Embassy wall, tearing down the American flag, and putting up the Muslim Brotherhood flag, you want the president of the United States to stand up and say we see what’s going on, and you have to stop, and we’re calling upon the Egyptian president to do something,” Grenell says. You have an international obligation to protect our embassy and its personnel.”
In contrast, Grenell says, Mitt Romney immediately issued a statement condemning the attacks and criticizing the embassy in Egypt for blaming the YouTube video and its American filmmaker instead of the attackers. The Obama campaign then attacked him for being political.
“Obama wants perfect information, and so he makes fun of the CEO type, Mitt Romney, who is accustomed to making real-time decisions and who can react quickly,” Grenell says.
“It’s more than a lack of leadership,” Grenell says. “I think the president either has a philosophical belief that you can't get involved until he has perfect information and thus avoids a real-time decision, or he didn't know what to do.”
Fundamentally, says Grenell, “This goes back to Barack Obama the law school professor, because in a law school classroom when you sit around and everybody is giving their angle, you only make judgments Monday morning. He has never been trained to have quick reactions and to be decisive. I think that’s what happened in Benghazi: We have a professor in the White House who doesn’t know to make real-time decisions.”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
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