After making a statement on Iraq from the South Lawn this morning, President Obama wasted no time booking it to the golf course.
“I’m not going to give a particular timetable, because as I’ve said from the start, wherever and whenever U.S. personnel and facilities are threatened, it’s my obligation, my responsibility as commander in chief, to make sure that they are protected. And we’re not moving our embassy anytime soon. We’re not moving our consulate anytime soon. And that means that, given the challenging security environment, we’re going to maintain vigilance and ensure that our people are safe,” Obama said.
“Our initial goal is to not only make sure Americans are protected, but also to deal with this humanitarian situation in Sinjar. We feel confident that we can prevent ISIL from going up a mountain and slaughtering the people who are there. But the next step, which is going to be complicated logistically, is how do we give safe passage for people down from the mountain, and where can we ultimately relocate them so that they are safe. That’s the kind of coordination that we need to do internationally.”
Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel aboard Air Force One en route to Martha’s Vineyard, as Bo the dog strolled through the press cabin.
The White House press pool was kept out of sight of Obama’s vacation home at the end of a private road.
Obama was only there for about half an hour before hitting the golf course. His partners were Valerie Jarrett’s boyfriend Ahmad Rashad, Jarrett’s cousin Cyrus Walker, and NBA player Ray Allen.
The pool was permitted to watch President Obama and his golf partners as they wrapped up the first hole at Farm Neck. Obama, in a white golf shirt, baseball cap and gray pants, carefully lined up a putt, bending down to the grass and taking a long look at the green before eventually making the short putt.
“The pool did not witness any particularly impressive or embarrassing shots as each player took his turn putting. The foursome appeared to be having a pleasant but low-key conversation, but the pool was kept at a distance and could not hear the discussion,” said an afternoon press pool report.
“After just a couple minutes at the first green, the pool was ushered away” and left to wait in a bus. “The weather in Oak Bluffs is perfect for playing 18 holes — sunny and 79 degrees today.”
Obama is scheduled to be at Martha’s Vineyard through Aug. 17, but will head to Tisbury, Mass., on Monday for a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser.