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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Millions gathered Sunday for a solidarity march in France’s capital to show support for the French people following last week’s terrorist attack that killed 12 people in Paris.
Planning for the rally began Friday and there were apparently no formal invitations. World leaders from 40 countries were in attendance but it’s who wasn’t there has some people talking. The group in attendance included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were there.
But both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden did not attend the Paris March.
The White House reaction was that the president’s security would have significantly interfered with the crowd of millions who attended—but there has been some backsplash over the president and vice president’s absence.
Some people, including Senator Marco Rubio, are saying the United States had too low a profile at the march.
Rubio, on “CBS This Morning” Monday, said he can understand why the president didn’t travel to Paris. He said the president must be accompanied by a large security detail and travel party, and said that could have proved distracting.
But Rubio also said, “I think, in hindsight, I would hope they would do it differently” next time.
Front pages from the New York Daily News and the New York Post called the White House out for its absence. The Naples Daily News doesn’t attack the White House, but it’s clear the U.S. is missing from the photo on the front cover.
Many took to Twitter to express concern over that fact that the U.S. didn’t send its top leaders. Even CNN Jounalist Jake Tapper expressed anger over the decision.
Attorney General Eric Holder did not attend the march despite the fact he was in France for a counterterrorism meeting.
Despite the backlash, some including the President of France are defending the White House and Secretary of State Kerry blasted critics, saying they were “quibbling.”
Kerry will travel to Paris later this week for international talks on violent extremism and terror.
The Obama Administration announced that the White House will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism on February 18th. No word yet on participants invited.
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