Reaction to the horrific video released Tuesday by ISIS, purporting to show the beheading of a captured American freelance journalist, may be described as a “tale of two leaders” — one outraged, the other disengaged.
The video reportedly depicts James Wright Foley and his executioner. Foley was captured in 2012.
Following the video’s release, NBC News reported:
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer vacation to return to London and chair urgent meetings on the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, calling the video ‘shocking and depraved.’ British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the video appears to be genuine, adding that intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were working to identify the voice on the tape.
Fox News host Greta Van Susteren tweeted:
— Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) August 20, 2014
But while the video’s release caused the British prime minister to cut his vacation short, Obama’s reaction was the exact opposite. According to The Hill:
President Obama went back to his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday evening following less than 48 hours in Washington, leaving people puzzled over why he came back in the first place.
Obama’s two days in Washington were mostly quiet, and concluded with the president receiving his daily national security briefing in the morning, and joining Vice President Biden to huddle with members of his economic team in the afternoon.
Administration officials have insisted for weeks that the president just wanted to return to the White House for a series of meetings, but the explanation was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, since Obama rarely interrupts his vacations
Fox News foreign policy contributor David Grennel tweeted:
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) August 20, 2014
Or stated differently:
American journalist Foley murdered. British PM Cameron cancels vacation. American President Obama stays on vacation in Martha's Vineyard.
— Troy Rudolph (@BuckBranchRanch) August 20, 2014
The lead item on the WhiteHouse.gov page is the welcoming of incoming HUD Secretary Julian Castro.
Obama has often been praised as being a “Mr. Cool.” But “coolness” to the point of disengagement isn’t necessarily a desirable presidential trait.
(h/t National Review Online)