Mike Rogers Urges Obama to Cut Short Vacation

Image: Mike Rogers Urges Obama to Cut Short Vacation House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R- Mich. (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 09:13 AM

By Drew MacKenzie and Melissa Clyne

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers has denounced President Barack Obama for not cutting his vacation short to deal with the crisis in Iraq.

The president also came under fire for golfing after he had spoken to the nation about the beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State.

"The optics of being on vacation and not coming away from that vacation, I just think are bad," Rogers said on Fox News while urging him to return to the White House.

The Michigan Republican urged Obama to follow the lead of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who returned from his vacation to head a meeting about the dangers of Muslim militants in the United Kingdom in light of the British accent of the jihadist who is believed to have killed Foley.

Cameron was just one day into his vacation when he returned to London as the threat to Britain increased with Foley's murder by the terror group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), The Telegraph reported.

"We need that same optics for this president," Rogers said of Obama. "We need to show the world that this president is leading at a very difficult time."

Story continues below video.



Rogers also said there are reports that thousands of ISIS fighters are from Europe, including many from Britain, which would mean that they could easily enter the United States and conduct terror atrocities – a fear that also concerns Cameron about Britain.

Rogers' attack on Obama came as the president was vilified for rushing off to golf for five hours after he went on TV to condemn Foley's beheading, which was shown in a video released by ISIS.

During his statement, the president warned, "When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what's necessary to see that justice is done."

Obama then played a five-hour round at Farm Neck Golf Course on Martha's Vineyard, Mass.,  for his seventh visit to the links on his vacation that began Aug. 9, according to The Daily Mail and The Washington Post.

During the game he pumped fists and joked with his playing partners, businessman Glenn Hutchins, ex-NBA basketball player Alonzo Mourning, and Cyrus Walker, a cousin of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, the Mail reported.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters slammed Obama, saying, according to the Mail, that "there's no way the president should be stupid enough to go play golf" after such a speech.

ABC News political director Rick Klein told Fox News host Greta van Susteren that the White House is "well past the point of caring about the so-called 'optics' of things like this. And the president himself clearly doesn't ... care about the way it looks," according to the Daily Mail.

Tens of thousands of people went on Twitter to express their anger over Obama's golf game following his speech, saying he was "tone deaf," "clueless" and "disrespectful" to the Foley family, according to the U.K. newspaper.

Vox editor-in-chief Ezra Klein, a long-time Obama supporter, tweeted, "'Golfing today is in bad taste." And Drudge Report editor and Washington Times columnist Joe Curl, wrote, "What message does it send?"

Last week, according to the Post, after delivering a statement about the unrest in Iraq and the Ferguson, Missouri, riots, Obama was on the golf course four minutes after leaving the lectern.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz last week defended the president's leisure decisions, telling reporters that there's "never a perfect time for the president to take some time away with his family."

"But I think we can also all agree that it's valuable to recharge your batteries. And I just don't think the American people begrudge their president for taking some downtime with his family," he said, according to the Post.


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