A high-level huddle between the White House and key members of Congress was missing one key member of the administration Thursday night:
President Obama wasn’t on the line.
According to a Politico report, 26 ranking lawmakers were part of a conference call with top administration like National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Sandy Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
But where was the commander-in-chief as the nation debated another war in the Middle East?
Apparently, he was in a pressing meeting with former Lakers star Earvin “Magic” Johnson, if tweets and Facebook postings from the NBA legends are anything to go by.
According to a tweet posted by CNN’s Jim Acosta, Johnson arrived at the White House a little before 4 p.m. (“Our eagle-eyed CNN WH crew just spotted Magic Johnson arriving at the West Wing,” Acosta tweeted at 3:46 p.m.)
Johnson tweeted followers he was leaving the White House just before midnight after a productive meeting on “job creation,” believe it or not, with the president and consigliore Valerie Jarrett.
Now, this isn’t to say presidents don’t have other duties besides making war decisions – Lincoln signed the law that created land-grant colleges in the Union’s Civil War nadir year of 1862, for instance. And it isn’t to say Johnson isn’t a cut above, say, Jay Z or Al Sharpton, when you think of people the president could be spending his time with.
But when a president should be consulting with Congress about the gravest decisions of the office, he shouldn’t be shooting the breeze with former NBA’ers about “Magic” pre-paid debit cards or a new Starbucks in Watts.
Of course, if Obama had been on the line, he might have heard some talk about how even liberal members of Congress want the president to consult more with the country’s elected representatives before unleashing military force.
But who has time for Congress when Magic’s in town?