President Barack Obama has come under fire for stopping for a cheeseburger and fries in the middle of the dual Ukrainian and Palestinian crises.
Just hours after a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people, Obama pulled up his motorcade at the Charcoal Pit burger joint in Delaware for lunch, The Hill
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Obama raised more eyebrows when, after launching an infrastructure initiative in the First State, he later flew to New York for a pair of posh Democratic fundraisers.
His agenda continued unabated even though reports quickly surfaced alleging that pro-Russian separatists had blown up the plane using a Russian missile launcher.
During the hourlong flight from Delaware to New York, Obama learned that Israel had begun a ground offensive against the terror group Hamas in Gaza, according to The New York Times
"You have to wonder, is he reading any of his reviews?" Tobe Berkovitz, a professor at Boston University specializing in political communication, told The Hill, noting that the president went golfing amid the immigrations crisis.
"I don’t think anybody begrudges the president some time off and some vacation time. It’s just, when you’ve got bodies strewn all over a field, and our borders being overrun, it doesn’t play well."
National Journal’s Ron Fournier also slammed the president for not heading back to the White House to deal with the emerging crises.
In a column headlined "Is the White House Lying or Just Bad at Crisis Communications?"
Fournier wrote that "ordering a cheeseburger with fries while a downed airline smolders may not have been a great decision."
Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt also condemned the burger stop, saying, "Don’t tolerate this. This is ridiculous," according to The Hill.
With Obama flying out on a fundraising trip to California
on Tuesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest defended Obama’s burger meal while stating that the three-day trip would go ahead as scheduled.
He noted that on his Delaware trip Obama made calls to the Ukrainian president, the Malaysian prime minister, and the Dutch prime minister, while also conferring with Secretary of State John Kerry and his national security team about the crisis.
Earnest said that Obama was able to "fulfill his responsibilities as commander in chief and as the leader of this country from the road."
Earnest said there could be a change in the president’s California plans if the situations in Ukraine or Gaza worsen. If it becomes "clear that there’s a need for him to come back to the White House to fulfill those functions, then we’ll make a change in his schedule. Right now, it’s not apparent that that’s the case."
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