The White House didn’t send a representative higher than the U.S. ambassador to the massive unity march in Paris today, but did announce it would hold a summit on violent extremism.
There was no reason given for why President Obama or Vice President Biden weren’t sent to the rally. Neither had anything on their schedules. Secretary of State John Kerry went ahead with a previously planned India trip.
The only thing on Obama’s Monday schedule is welcoming the San Antonio Spurs to the White House.
Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris for security meetings, but didn’t attend the march. Ambassador Jane Hartley went.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Renzi, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Queen Rania, EU President Donald Tusk, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were among about 50 world leaders in attendance.
Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was at French President Francois Hollande’s right side during the march. A Malian immigrant, Lassana Bathily, saved a number of Jews at the kosher grocery store by putting them in the freezer, turning off the cold, and escaping through a service elevator to give all the details of the hostage standoff to police. Hollande helped Mali in 2013, when French troops drove terrorists out of Timbuktu and other parts of the country following a brutal 10-month imposition of sharia.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement this morning that on Feb. 18 they will host “a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups in the United States and abroad to commit acts of violence, efforts made even more imperative in light of recent, tragic attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris.”
“This summit will build on the strategy the White House released in August of 2011, Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States, the first national strategy to prevent violent extremism domestically,” Earnest added in an administration back-pat.
“Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts rely heavily on well-informed and resilient local communities. Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis-St. Paul have taken the lead in building pilot frameworks integrating a range of social service providers, including education administrators, mental health professionals, and religious leaders, with law enforcement agencies to address violent extremism as part of the broader mandate of community safety and crime prevention. The summit will highlight best practices and emerging efforts from these communities,” he continued. “At the same time, our partners around the world are actively implementing programs to prevent violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighter recruitment. The summit will include representatives from a number of partner nations, focusing on the themes of community engagement, religious leader engagement, and the role of the private sector and tech community.”
“Through presentations, panel discussions, and small group interactions, participants will build on local, state, and federal government; community; and international efforts to better understand, identify, and prevent the cycle of radicalization to violence at home in the United States and abroad.”
Earnest said more details would be released at a later date.