Guess who’s not coming to dinner at the White House?
It’s Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was invited to “private dinner” last night, to be attended as well by Vice President Joe Biden.
Who else was not invited was the press, despite which reporters got wind of the fact that Prime Minister Modi planned to feast on filet of nothing — the reason being he was fasting as part of a Hindu religious observance.
The Washington Free Beacon notes:
The administration’s seeming insensitivity to Modi’s religious observance caused a tense back-and-forth during the State Department’s daily briefing with reporters.
State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki was forced to defend the decision to hold the dinner on the holy day.
“I’m just wondering if anyone thought it was really that much of a good idea to host and dinner and lunch for the visiting president who is the middle of a fast,” asked Associated Press reporter Matt Lee.
“We certainly understand that and recognize it and respect it, his fast. It’s a way of honoring an individual,” Psaki responding.
“Are these people going to be actually eating in front of him?” Lee followed up.
“I don’t have the menu in front of me, Matt,” Psaki said.
Lee explained that the optics could be offensive.
“So he’s going to be sitting there drinking his water or lemon flavored water and everyone else is going to be chowing down on a four course meal in front on him?” the reporter asked.
This is not the first time the administration displayed ignorance with respect to a religious observance. In 2011, Obama lit Hannukah candles to commemorate the Jewish holiday of lights. The only problem is that he was two weeks early and flubbed the lighting of the menorah.