On radio this morning, Pat and Stu took a break from talking about the bombings in Boston to cover another troubling story. The White House has decided they are not sending any serving member of the administration to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral tomorrow. It is important to note that this decision was made prior to the events in Boston yesterday.
Britain’s Daily Mail reported, “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 White House has decided that they're not sending anybody to the funeral of Margaret Thatcher,” Pat said exasperatedly.
“Other than the vice president,” Stu interjected.
“No, not the vice president, or the secretary of state, or the undersecretary of state, or the secretary to the undersecretary,” Pat responded.
“What about the general assistant,” Stu asked.
“The assistant secretary to the general secretary to the undersecretary is also not going,” Pat explained.
“Were there no flights,” Stu questioned. “Can we check Orbitz? If we get on Orbitz I’m sure there’s a way to see if there are any flights.”
Kidding aside, it is remarkable that there will not be a single member of the current administration attending the funeral of a leader of one of our closest allies. HotAir.com reported:
Normally, [such a death] 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.
“I don't know that I've ever heard of such a thing,” Pat said.
Jeffy offered some inspired insight into why the administration couldn’t bother to send anyone. “Maybe the official delegation that went down to Hugo Chavez's funeral hasn't gotten back yet,” he said.
“There are not a lot of flights from Caracas,” Stu quipped.
The administration offered a slightly different reason for not sending an envoy, though they may have been better off blaming sequestration based on the dismal excuse they came up with.
A U.S. embassy spokesman confirmed no one would be attending Thatcher’s funeral, adding, “This is a hugely significant week in terms of US domestic politics.” He said that both the First Lady and the Vice President are “the President’s point people on gun control…This is a week when there is a lot of movement on Capitol Hill on gun control issues.”
“They're trying to push through the gun legislation so they don't want anyone to go,” Stu surmised. “This was before the bombing. So they could use the bombing as an excuse, and it would actually be legitimate to not attend. But you would still send somebody. They're not sending anyone because of the gun debate.”
While the administration will not be represented at the funeral, House Speaker John Boehner announced yesterday that he will send a delegation to represent the House of Representatives led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Congress makes such decisions independently of the White House, and, in addition to Blackburn, the HOR will send Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. George Holding (R-NC).
“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 in a statement. “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.”