President Barack Obama is facing mounting criticism over his decision to play golf right after he had attempted to comfort the parents of murdered American journalist James Foley, The New York Times
Obama called John and Diane Foley at their home in New Hampshire to say that he was "heartbroken" by the brutal death of their son, who was beheaded by the violent terror group Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
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Within minutes he was speaking to the nation Wednesday from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he is on vacation, vowing that he would be relentless in seeing that "justice is done" to those who "harm Americans."
The he played a five-hour round of golf at his favorite course, Farm Neck Golf Course, his seventh in 10 days, according to The Washington Post.
But the president’s seeming disregard for the Foley family’s feelings and the slaughter of their son has been attacked by Republicans and Democrats.
"As a general rule, I think that he’s right that you can’t be held hostage to the news cycle — the man deserves a bit of downtime," Democratic strategist Jim Manley told the Times. "But in this particular instance, I think a lot of Democrats flinched a little bit."
Manley said that video of Foley being beheaded by an Islamic State extremist, "was just so shocking that the idea that he was going to immediately run to the golf course was just a little too much for folks. It was tone-deaf."
Vox editor-in-chief Ezra Klein, usually a supporter of Obama, posted a Twitter message
that said, "Critiques of presidential vacations are dumb. But golfing today is in bad taste."
The Daily News in New York published a front-page photograph of a grinning president in a golf cart next to a picture of Foley’s parents with the headline, "Prez tees off as Foley’s parents grieve," the Times reported.
"When the going gets tough, the tough really do go golfing," wrote Mike Lupica, a Daily News columnist
. "[Obama] reacts about as well to the hideous death of Foley as his administration has to the growing threat of ISIS."
Referring to the ISIS insurgency in Iraq, former Vice President Dick Cheney slammed Obama on Fox News, saying that the president would "rather be on the golf course than he would be dealing with the crisis."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers
also denounced Obama for not cutting his vacation short to deal with the crisis in Iraq. "The optics of being on vacation and not coming away from that vacation, I just think are bad," Rogers said.
Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director, defended the president, "His concern for the Foleys and Jim was evident to all who saw and heard his statement," according to the Times.
Obama showed "emotional attachment," Peter Paker and Julie Hirschfeld Davis of the Times wrote. "The juxtaposition of his indignant denunciation of terrorists and his outing on the greens this week underscored the unintended consequences of such a remove.
"If Mr. Obama hoped to show America’s enemies that they cannot hijack his schedule, he also showed many of his friends in America that he disdains the politics of appearance....after the outcry over Wednesday’s game, he defied the critics by golfing again on Thursday, his eighth outing in 11 days on the island."
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