America snubs historic Paris rally

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and British PM David Cameron were among dozens of world leaders there 
  • Neither President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden attended the historic event, though both of their public schedules were open 
  • Obama told the French on Friday that 'the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow' – but he didn't stand with them in Paris
  • US Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris for a terrorism summit on the march's sidelines, but was not seen at the march that followed
  • No cabinet secretaries or other senior officials attended, leaving only US Ambassador to France Jane Hartley as the top US official there
MAKING A STATEMENT: World leaders walk side by side in a show of defiance and unity at a rally in response to the terror attacks that have taken place in France, including (left to right) British Prime Minister David Cameron, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Holder, Obama's longest-serving cabinet member, was pictured shaking hands with French officials after the event, but he slipped away – as did Mayorgas – before the march kicked off around 3:00 p.m.  

The attorney general appeared on four Sunday morning talk shows around the same time as the march, although it's unclear whether he spoke live from Paris or if his segments were pre-recorded.

The Department of Justice would not immediately comment on Holder's schedule with DailyMail.com, and a spokesperson for Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson similarly did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The White House press office also did not respond to a question seeking confirmation that the president was engrossed in the NFL playoffs on Sunday afternoon. 

Vice President Joe Biden often fills in for the president at events that require White House gravitas, but he was nowhere to be seen either, despite his own empty schedule.

Political opponents – and even some allies – were quick to criticize Obama for not showing up himself, or at least sending a senior administration official to represent him at the street-swelling rally.

An incensed former Speaker of the house Newt Gingrich vented on Twitter and told DailyMail.com that it was 'sad that 50 world leaders could show solidarity in Paris but President Obama refused to participate.'

'The cowardice continues,' Gingrich jabbed, referring to Republicans' refrain that he has shown a weak hand when dealing with terrorism overseas.

Politico reporter Ben White tweeted: 'Is it just me or does it feel like Obama should be at this big March in Paris?'

Fox News host Greta Van Susteren wrote: 'This is really embarrassing – WHERE IS PRESIDENT OBAMA? Why didn't he go?' 

Obama's absence was notable as dozens of nations' show of solidarity unfolded before a global audience – especially considering his public schedule was wide open. 

According to Buzzfeed, Holder left Paris after the summit to return to Washington. 

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry was half a world away in India, preparing for the president's upcoming trip to the south Asian country in the coming weeks.

CNN's Jake Tapper reported that security for the march was difficult, with 2,300 police officers and paramilitary forces deployed to Paris.

The foreign dignitaries were protected with police snipers, plainclothes cops and anti-terror officers. Streets were shut down and parking was restricted.

However, the attendance of controversial heads of state like Netanyahu appeared to show that the march was well secured. 

'I don't mean this as a criticism of the Obama administration,' Tapper said Sunday while reporting live from Paris, 'but just as an American I do wish that we were better represented in this beautiful procession of world leaders.'

'I'm a little disappointed, personally – this is me speaking personally, not as a representative of CNN, but as an American – that there isn't more of a display of unity here,' the host of 'The Lead' added.

CNN's Fareed Zakaria was one of the many who noticed President Obama's absence, and remarked that it was a mistake not to show up and support our 'deepest ideological ally.'

Zakaria said that it would have sent an important message to have an American face among the wold leaders.

Forbes columnist Stuart Anderson echoed Zakaria's statements, saying: 'By not attending the unity rally in Paris on Sunday, President Obama has missed an opportunity to show leadership, to demonstrate that Americans are as committed to fight against terrorism as anyone in the world. 

'And that America stands with its allies in a worldwide battle that, unfortunately, is likely to last many years.' 

The White House announced on Sunday that it would convene 'a Summit on Countering Violent 

Extremism' in February '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.'

A statement from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest made no specific mention of Islam, Islamist terrorism, or Muslims in general.

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