President Barack Obama came under bitter attack Wednesday for doing the tango and taking in other pleasures on his visits to Cuba and Argentina amid the deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels, with Republican strategist Anna Navarro saying "I think the entire thing is horrible.
"It reminded me of when he went golfing after James Foley's head was cut off," Navarro, a former Jeb Bush supporter, told John Berman on CNN.
Obama played golf on Martha's Vineyard in September 2014 after making a quick statement condemning the beheading of Foley, a freelance journalist from New Hampshire, by Islamic State terrorists. He later admitted that the move was a mistake after widespread outrage by critics.
In Buenos Aires on Wednesday, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were coaxed onto the dance floor by professional tango dancers at a state dinner hosted by Argentine President Mauricio Macri.
"It's inexcusable that when the entire world is standing in solidarity with Brussels, is in shock, in grief, the president of the United States is in Cuba sitting next to a dictator who has been in power for 56 years who has ordered the shoot-down of American citizens, who has been anti-American for 56 years," Navarro told Berman.
"Eating peanuts and going to the baseball game like he was at Walt Disney World. It's not Walt Disney — and it's a day of grief for the entire world.
"President Obama knows full well that optics matter, but he chose his legacy over optics," she added. "It was a shameful, shameful disappointing moment for President Obama.
"I was disappointed. I was not surprised."
Former presidential adviser David Gergen that while he understood the president's objective to show restraint during such crises, so many attacks have occurred around the world in the recent past that "people are looking for more forceful action to actually drive back ISIS.
"Right now, we're not winning against ISIS," he told Berman. "We have reduced the amount of territory in Syria and Iraq, but they've expanded elsewhere. We learned through The Associated Press that they trained up 400 fighters to go through Europe.
"Under those circumstances, I would tell the president that when you gave your speech in Cuba, the 38-minute speech and you only gave a few seconds to Brussels, you brushed it off.
"When you go to a baseball game it looks frivolous. Dancing like that.
"He should have made the hard call and come back and gathered people or look for leadership here," Gergen said. "That's a critical issue for him.
"Restraint does not equal leadership when you are under attack."
The Twittersphere exploded with attacks on the president:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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