Last week, the Obama White House released this photo.
The White House sent the photo in an official email, with the title “What’s Behind the President’s Desk?” and captioned it “President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey in the Oval Office, July 30, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Some in Turkey are not amused.
Lawmakers in Turkey are criticizing President Obama over a recent White House photo showing him on the phone with Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan while holding a baseball bat.
“The photo reveals from whom our prime minister receives orders to rule the country,” said Metin Lutfi Baydar, a lawmaker with Turkey’s main opposition party to Erdogan.
Another opposition member, Umut Oran, called the photo “an implicit insult to Turkey and its citizens.”
Yeah, kind of obvious that a foreign country that is going Islamist and already has a prickly relationship with the US might take offense at Obama’s attempt to look like a Chicago politics thug.
Now the Obama White House is excusing the bat photo by putting out word that it has Hank Aaron’s autograph on it. Intended subtext: You’re criticizing a black president for having a bat signed by the black home run king. Because, racism.
Subtle, very subtle.
The White House should have anticipated that that caption on that photo could cause problems overseas. After nearly four years in office, they’re still running amateur hour at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.