White House: US should have sent high-level officials to Paris march

World Today

FRANCE-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-DEMO From left : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Union President Donald Tusk, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, and Jordan’s Queen Rania along with other officials and heads of states take part in a Unity rally “Marche Republicaine” on January 11, 2015 in Paris in tribute to the 17 victims of the three-day killing spree. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG

WASHINGTON — The White House said Monday the U.S. should have sent a high-level official to an anti-terror march in Paris that was attended by more than 40 world leaders in a rare public admission of error.

The Obama administration was represented Sunday by the U.S. ambassador to France, though Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris for security meetings.

“It’s fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Earnest suggested the elaborate security apparatus required for presidential travel prohibited President Barack Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden, from traveling to Paris on relatively short notice.

“There’s no doubt that had the president or vice president, on this very short time frame, gone to participate in this event that took place outdoors with more than a million people in attendance, that it would have significantly impacted the ability of those who attended the march to participate in the way they did yesterday,” Earnest said.

Secretary of State John Kerry was on a long-planned trip to India Sunday. The Justice Department hasn’t said why Holder could not stay for the event.

The State Department said Kerry would travel to Paris this week to show solidarity with the French people following three days of terror attacks by Islamic militants that resulted in 17 deaths.

Story compiled with information from The Associated Press.