Fifty seconds. A little more than one second per dead body. That’s what President Barack Obama spent opening his Tuesday morning press conference from Havana, Cuba, reacting to the death of at least 30 human beings and injuries to at least 230 more in two coordinated terrorist attacks in Brussels.
I suppose you’ve got to keep on schedule when there’s a baseball game to get to, right?
The “move along, folks” attitude following another Islam-perpetrated catastrophe perfectly befits this president, the same man who on November 5, 2009, gave a “shout-out” and spoke about “an extremely productive (Tribal Nations) conference” for nearly two minutes before addressing that morning’s massacre of American servicemen and women by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood.
Even his fifty seconds were far too cool, detached, uninspired and uninspiring to befit an American president on a day of mayhem and carnage in the heart of Europe:
Before I begin, please indulge me. I want to comment on the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Brussels. The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium. We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people. We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible. And this is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together, regardless of nationality, or race, or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. We can — and will — defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.
No hint of understanding that this isn’t about all nationalities, all races, and most especially not all faiths. No anger, no passion, no intensity at all.
But then he probably needed to preserve his small reservoir of emotion within the deep Obama sea of sangfroid in order to have the proper level of enthusiasm to display, alongside his incongruously grinning wife, when doing “the wave” with Cuba’s dictator, Raul “What political prisoners?” Castro.
I could not make this up.
Later Tuesday afternoon, in an interview with ESPN at the ball game (which was an exhibition matchup between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team), Obama explained that he was inspired by Boston’s strength after the 2013 marathon bombing to avoid letting terrorism “disrupt our daily lives.” As if his “daily life” revolves around leisure rather than leadership. (Well, when you put it that way, Ross…)
After his fifty seconds, Obama continued for more than half an hour with pre-planned remarks about the history of Cuban-American relations — a speech so dull that news networks quickly cut away from the president, giving more time to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Hillary Clinton than to the “leader of the free world” on events that one might be forgiven for believing concern the free world.
During my morning radio show, Obama supporters called to ask, “What more would you want him to say?” I have a few suggestions which require no creativity on my part because other people said them that very morning:
- “We are at war.” (French Prime Minister Manuel Valls)
- “DHS will not hesitate to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect the American people.” (U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
- “We will do what we can to help them fight this scourge, and redouble our efforts to make sure it does not happen here.” (Ted Cruz, as part of remarks which included an ill-conceived suggestion that law enforcement should “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in the United States.)
- “Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue.” (Bernie Sanders!)
- “We must also redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil.” (John Kasich)
One more thought for my liberal friends: Do you believe for even a brief fleeting moment that were George W. Bush still president of the United States he would have dedicated less than a minute to the barbarity in Brussels or that he would be seen just hours later doing the wave at a baseball game, much less alongside a communist dictator who just called for the U.S. to “return the territory illegally occupied by Guantanamo Naval Base”?
I have never had a high regard for Barack Obama, knowing him to be a man who neither understands nor likes the country whose citizens have twice elected him president. But I have never been as disgusted by him — as a leader, as a representative of our exceptional nation, and as a human being — than I was on Tuesday morning.
A witness to the two bombings at Brussels-Zaventem airport described the chaos: “I said ‘This is insane. This is insane. This is like a war zone.’”
President Obama put it a different way: “Play ball!”