Was it because of a pressing tee time?
Stopping off on the way to his annual 16-day Christmas vacation in Hawaii, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met with families of the 14 victims who died at the hands of Muslim terror couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik in San Bernardino.
After spending just under three hours with the families, Obama re-boarded Air Force One and was off for Honolulu and his scheduled holiday fun, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller shared on Twitter.
But all is not well.
San Bernardino Supervisor Curt Hagman was upset that the president did not plan to meet with the first responders and the 22 people who were wounded in the attack.
He suggested that Obama “should take this opportunity to express the gratitude of the American people to these heroes face to face,” and even offered to facilitate getting them to the meeting, according to the Press Enterprise.
“Wounded members of the San Bernardino County family and the first responders who saved them from further harm also deserve the President’s time,” he said in a statement Thursday.
“This is an opportunity for unity and healing at the highest level and I call upon President Obama to be more inclusive with his meeting,” Hagman added.
It would appear Hagman’s concerns prompted a change in plans, because Obama ended up meeting with first responders after visiting the families.
The president arrived at San Bernardino International Airport around 7:40 p.m., stopping in California on the way to Hawaii for his family holiday getaway. Obama and his wife, Michelle, then took a motorcade to Indian Springs High School, where he was to meet with victims’ families. Cheering crowds and a handful of protesters lined the route as the president drove by.
The president appeared somber and spoke softly after his extended meeting with the families of the victims. After speaking with the families, the president spoke with a group of area first responders and law enforcement professionals, including individuals who responded to the incident, and thanked them for their service.
Hagman was attacked on social media for being “divisive and political,” but responded to say the families of the wounded “feel that they have been abandoned by the administration.”
“This tragedy is not a political issue and I will not make it one,” he wrote in response to a Facebook user. “The only reason I went on the record, is that I heard from families of the wounded, and I heard that they feel that they have been abandoned by the Administration. Should their voices be ignored?
Hagman said it was hard to understand why Obama would not set aside “an extra hour” to ensure that the families of the wounded “knew that he was there for them at this difficult time.”
“Instead, we all witnessed how the President turned their grief [into] a political issue and used a terrorist attack to promote his agenda on gun control,” Hagman concluded. “This was a lost opportunity to set an example and truly show support for a community that has been shaken by the recent attack.”
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