President Obama said he was near tears while talking to the parents of slain U.S. journalist James Foley, and he appeared to express some misgivings about his decision to play golf minutes after delivering an angry public statement about Foley’s killing in Syria three weeks ago.
“I should’ve anticipated the optics,” Obama said in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” set to air Sunday.
“Part of this job is also the theater of it,” Obama said, adding that “it’s not something that always comes naturally to me. But it matters.”
The president had been on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard Aug. 20 when he appeared before assembled reporters and pronounced himself “heartbroken” over Foley’s beheading by fighters for the Islamic State militant group in Syria.
Minutes after his remarks, Obama arrived at a golf course, where he played a round with several friends, provoking criticism from some political rivals, Democratic allies and media pundits that the commander in chief had not treated the moment with proper dignity and respect.