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No White House envoy to Thatcher funeral?Update: Boehner sending House delegation

Posted by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 4:23 PM
  • 62 Replies

POSTED AT 10:01 AM ON APRIL 16, 2013 BY ED MORRISSEY

And the British government is apparently unhappy about it, too.  Sources within Whitehall told the Daily Mail that the Obama administration’s decision to skip sending an envoy to what has become a de factostate funeral for one of America’s staunchest Cold War allies came before the Boston terrorist attack yesterday, and that the White House had cited a “busy week” for the reason they couldn’t even spare Joe Biden for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral:

Friends and allies of Baroness Thatcher expressed ‘surprise and disappointment’ last night as it emerged President Obama is not planning to send any serving member of his administration to her funeral.

Whitehall sources have revealed that the US delegation at tomorrow’s service in St Paul’s Cathedral will be led by two Reagan era secretaries of state: James Baker and George Shultz.

Though President Obama himself had not been expected to attend, there had been speculation that he would be represented either by Vice President Joe Biden or wife Michelle. However, the Obama administration had said it would not be attending Thatcher’s funeral before the Boston bombings.

The Queen’s decision to attend Lady Thatcher’s funeral has effectively elevated it to a state occasion unprecedented for a political figure in Britain since the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

Other world leaders, including Canada’s Stephen Harper, Mario Monti of Italy and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, are attending the service in person.

Normally, that would prompt attendance by a high-level figure in the US government — if not the President or Vice-President, a high-ranking Cabinet official.  For instance, why not send John Kerry, the Secretary of State tasked with maintaining good relations with close allies like the UK?  Instead, the US delegation will consist of two men who would be traveling as private citizens to the funeral already, essentially giving an official policy of ignoring the event and snubbing the other world leaders attending it.

And why?  Obama and Biden are too busy pushing gun control, according to the US embassy:

But a US embassy spokesman confirmed that no serving member of his administration would be present to pay their last respects, citing a busy week in US domestic politics.

‘This is a hugely significant week in terms of US domestic politics,’ a spokesman added.

He said that both the First Lady and the Vice President were ‘the President’s point people on gun control’, adding: ‘This is a week when there is a lot of movement on Capitol Hill on gun control issues.’

Well, Kerry isn’t part of that, is he?  (Oh, wait ….) They’re too busy to pay respects to someone who stood by America as a stalwart partner in the latter years of the Cold War, when it might have been easier for her to keep her distance.  Shameful.  And it’s not being ignored in the UK, either:

Former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox, Lady Thatcher’s closest ally in modern-day politics, said: ‘I think it would be both surprising and disappointing if after President Obama’s fulsome tribute to Lady Thatcher, the American administration did not send a senior serving member to represent them.’

Sir Gerald Howarth, chairman of the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward group of MPs and peers, said: ‘The bonds forged between the UK and the US through Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was instrumental in ending the Cold War and liberating millions of people.

‘That the present administration feels unable to be represented as the world marks the extraordinary contribution Margaret Thatcher made will be a source of disappointment to those who served with her in that great endeavour.’

Smart power.

Update: Just as a reminder, Congress decides separately on delegations to events such as this.  I’d expect to see both the House and Senate send small delegations to the funeral.

Update: Just received by e-mail, but it actually came out yesterday:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced he will send a delegation to London this week to represent the U.S. House of Representatives at the funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of the United Kingdom.  The delegation will be led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

Margaret Thatcher was one of the greatest champions freedom has ever known, and her funeral gives Americans and friends around the world an opportunity to pay final respects,” Boehner said. “I’m pleased that Congressman Blackburn will lead a House delegation to Baroness Thatcher’s funeral to communicate our prayers and condolences to her family and the British people.”

The House delegation to London will also include Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and George Holding (R-NC).

The House delegation will fly to London on commercial air flights, in compliance with the Speaker’s directive that Member use of military air transportation be suspended with sequestration in effect.

Also, our ambassador in London should attend the funeral, but that’s not the same as sending a delegation representing the head of state.

by on Apr. 16, 2013 at 4:23 PM
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Replies (1-10):
-Celestial-
by Platinum Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 4:28 PM

We have more pressing matters on our own shores.....................

gludwig2000
by Gina on Apr. 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM
You know, I'm sorry but this is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.
T45
by Independent Thinker on Apr. 16, 2013 at 4:38 PM
8 moms liked this

Now wait they can send an envoy to Chavez's funeral  but not Thatcher's    IDIOCY...this man needs to be impeached.

Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 4:40 PM
Quoting SallyMJ:

Also, our ambassador in London should attend the funeral, but that’s not the same as sending a delegation representing the head of state.

Sorry to be cynical, but funerals of previous heads of state are rarely attended because the attendees knew or liked the dead person.   They are an excuse to get together for informal diplomacy.

Sometimes people go just because they're afraid to be left out of the deals going on, if they're not present.

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 6:07 PM
4 moms liked this

NOT. No other presidential administration would dream of disrespecting the British government this way.

Except His Majesty the King of America, Barack the First.

Obama is so very rude and disrespectful - He thinks it's all about him. It IS, isn't it??


Quoting gludwig2000:

You know, I'm sorry but this is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.



SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 6:08 PM
2 moms liked this

You do know the WH communicated this to the UK yesterday BEFORE THE BOMBINGS, right?

So convenient to retroactively change your reasons. Makes you sound as if you think you are the King of America, Barack the First. "Let them eat cake."


Quoting -Celestial-:

We have more pressing matters on our own shores.....................



SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 6:10 PM
1 mom liked this

Negative. So wrong...so many ways.

Say those reasons enough times, and maybe even you will believe them. 

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting SallyMJ:

Also, our ambassador in London should attend the funeral, but that’s not the same as sending a delegation representing the head of state.

Sorry to be cynical, but funerals of previous heads of state are rarely attended because the attendees knew or liked the dead person.   They are an excuse to get together for informal diplomacy.

Sometimes people go just because they're afraid to be left out of the deals going on, if they're not present.



gludwig2000
by Gina on Apr. 16, 2013 at 6:34 PM
2 moms liked this
We are going to have to disagree here. I say that if he did attend the funeral, there would be an outcry about that, especially after the Boston Bombing. But even if it didn't happen, someone would complain, whether he himself went, sent the Mrs. or our VP, someone would complain and say that now isn't the time, why is he putting the British above America, etc, etc. No offense to you, but I honestly believe that what ever move that man makes, he will be criticized about it.
Quoting SallyMJ:

NOT. No other presidential administration would dream of disrespecting the British government this way.

Except His Majesty the King of America, Barack the First.

Obama is so very rude and disrespectful - He thinks it's all about him. It IS, isn't it??


Quoting gludwig2000:

You know, I'm sorry but this is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.



SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 16, 2013 at 7:08 PM
4 moms liked this

Who said Obama himself needed to attend Thatcher's funeral himself?

He needed to send a senior level of representation to show the honor and respect the US has for its close ally, the UK, and for one of its foremost leaders who has passed.

Some reasonable choices would be John Kerry and/or Michelle O.

For comparison, in 2004, the UK sent Margaret Thatcher, Prince Charles (representing Elizabeth II), Tony Blair and his wife Cherie, to Ronald Reagan's state funeral.

I'm sure the Dems felt they couldn't criticize Obama - hopefully it wasn't because they don't care. So the GOP felt they had to step in, since the guys in charge were embarrassing the US and maltreating the UK.

The WH has already insulted the UK, whatever the Republican leaders do. And a shame. And obviously, it comes right from the top, right from Obama, a big "F you" to the people and leaders of the UK. A fabulous legacy.

If Obama would start trying to be humble, consider the ramifications of his decisions, try to honor the Constitution, this country and its people, and stop trying to exalt himself - everyone, including he, will be much better off.

And the funny thing: I think he would be surprised at how the tenor would change.

Because he would become again just another American who happens to have been elected president - Not the King of America.


Quoting gludwig2000:

We are going to have to disagree here. I say that if he did attend the funeral, there would be an outcry about that, especially after the Boston Bombing. But even if it didn't happen, someone would complain, whether he himself went, sent the Mrs. or our VP, someone would complain and say that now isn't the time, why is he putting the British above America, etc, etc. No offense to you, but I honestly believe that what ever move that man makes, he will be criticized about it.
Quoting SallyMJ:

NOT. No other presidential administration would dream of disrespecting the British government this way.

Except His Majesty the King of America, Barack the First.

Obama is so very rude and disrespectful - He thinks it's all about him. It IS, isn't it??


Quoting gludwig2000:

You know, I'm sorry but this is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.





gludwig2000
by Gina on Apr. 16, 2013 at 7:19 PM
I see where you missed my mention of him sending the Mrs. or our VP, but that is okay. I do believe that our ideas concerning President Obama are never going to match, because I just don't see him as trying to set himself up as King, or all the other stuff. Is he arrogant? Yes, but I believe that he and every other President would need a degree of arrogance in order to accomplish anything, but that isn't what this is about. Like I said, you and I will have to disagree on this, so lets leave it at that because I really don't want to argue and have personally found the last 6 years very tiresome when it comes to Obama and any actions he may or may not take. I'm not a rabid fan of his, because I do see his faults (which is something else we wouldn't agree on,lol) but I do not buy the "Rock Star" or "King of the World" mentality he is accused of having, nor do I worship him.
Quoting SallyMJ:

Who said Obama himself needed to attend Thatcher's funeral himself?

He needed to send a senior level of representation to show the honor and respect the US has for its close ally, the UK, and for one of its foremost leaders who has passed.

Some reasonable choices would be John Kerry and/or Michelle O.

For comparison, in 2004, the UK sent Margaret Thatcher, Brian Mulroney, Prince Charles (representing Elizabeth II), Tony Blair and his wife Cherie.

I'm sure the Dems felt they couldn't criticize Obama - hopefully it wasn't because they don't care. So the GOP felt they had to step in, since the guys in charge were embarrassing the US and maltreating the UK.

The WH has already insulted the UK, whatever the Republican leaders do. And a shame. And obviously, it comes right from the top, right from Obama, a big "F you" to the people and leaders of the UK. A fabulous legacy.

If Obama would start trying to be humble, consider the ramifications of his decisions, try to honor the Constitution, this country and its people, and stop trying to exalt himself - everyone, including he, will be much better off.

And the funny thing: I think he would be surprised at how the tenor would change.

Because he would become again just another American who happens to have been elected president - Not the King of America.


Quoting gludwig2000:

We are going to have to disagree here. I say that if he did attend the funeral, there would be an outcry about that, especially after the Boston Bombing. But even if it didn't happen, someone would complain, whether he himself went, sent the Mrs. or our VP, someone would complain and say that now isn't the time, why is he putting the British above America, etc, etc. No offense to you, but I honestly believe that what ever move that man makes, he will be criticized about it.
Quoting SallyMJ:

NOT. No other presidential administration would dream of disrespecting the British government this way.

Except His Majesty the King of America, Barack the First.

Obama is so very rude and disrespectful - He thinks it's all about him. It IS, isn't it??


Quoting gludwig2000:

You know, I'm sorry but this is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.





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