Obama interrupts his vacation to return to Washington for meetings on foreign and domestic crises

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama has finally figured out that the optics of a two-week vacation in Martha’s Vineyard while Ferguson, Missouri and parts of the Middle East are on fire may not sit well with the American public. So, he decided to interrupt his vacation to return to Washington:

In a rare move for him, the president planned a break in the middle of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to return to Washington on Sunday night for unspecified meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and other advisers.

The White House has been cagey about why the president needs to be back in Washington for those discussions.

Part of the decision appears aimed at countering criticism that Obama is spending two weeks on a resort island in the midst of so many foreign and domestic crises.

Yet those crises turned the first week of Obama’s vacation into a working holiday. He made on-camera statements on U.S. military action in Iraq and the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. He called foreign leaders to discuss the tensions between Ukraine and Russia, as well as between Israel and Hamas.
Obama is scheduled to return to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday and stay through next weekend.

According to The Hill, President Obama will meet this morning with Biden and advisors about Iraq. He’ll also meet with Attorney General Eric Holder about the situation in Ferguson, which saw its biggest outbreak of violence on Sunday night. Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) has ordered the National Guard to the St. Louis suburb to help restore order.

Some of the criticism aimed at President Obama over his vacations isn’t fair. He still receives regular briefings and can make decisions based on the information he gets wherever he is. With that said, however, dancing and playing golf amid domestic and foreign crises only furthers the notion that President Obama has, as Matt Lewis recently wrote, completely checked out of his job.

This is something that has vulnerable House and Senate Democrats very nervous as they inch closer to the mid-term election. President Obama’s approval ratings are still in the dumps and races that turn into referendums on his White House may not end well for incumbents from his party. With Labor Day approaching, the point at which voters begin to pay attention to the election, there isn’t much time left to mitigate the damage.

It’s not about whether President Obama deserves a vacation. This is a tough job and everyone who sits in the Oval Office is going to need a break from those confines at some point. It’s the timing of his most recent vacation and his recreational activities that send the wrong message to Americans.

In short, the fact that President Obama went on vacation given the magnitude of everything going on in the world and, then, stayed at Martha’s Vineyard while Ferguson, Missouri became a war-zone shows a serious lack of judgment on his part. Unfortunately, that has become all too common in this White House.

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