“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,” the London Daily Mail reports.
I wonder how “surprised” they really are, given that just about everyone should have seen this coming from a mile away:
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.
Ed Morrissey notes that John Boehner will be attending, along with a Congressional delegation:
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.
The White House’s excuse is that they’re busy — oh so very, very busy — crafting new gun “control” legislation and they can’t spare anyone, not even the FLOTUS, VP, or John Kerry our illustrious new secretary of state, but Moe Lane notes that with Boehner attending the funeral, not much is going to happen in Congress, thus rendering that dog-ate-my-homework excuse mute.
As Moe adds:
look. I don’t know who, specifically, the President is going to be in 2017, but I do know this: the President will not be a petty man lashing out at the British because he’s trying to curry posthumous favor with an anti-colonial daddy who never truly loved him. Now would be a good time for the rest of the country to make it quietly clear that the last several, and next several, years represent an aberration in Anglo-American relations, not the New Normal…
Yes, one can certainly hope for a change, to borrow from Mr. Obama’s favorite, albeit rather ironic campaign slogans.