The White House acknowledged that it should have sent a higher-level representative to the anti-terrorism rally in Paris.
“I think it’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday at a news conference, a day after the rally.
The United States was represented by Jane Hartley, the American ambassador to France. President Obama came in for criticism for not attending the rally.
Over 40 world leaders and more than 3.7 million people attended the rally in response to the killing of 12 people at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and four others at a kosher market in Paris, as well as a policewoman.
Earnest also said that the extensive security procedures needed for Obama’s participation in the rally may have prohibited some average French citizens from joining the march, ABC News reported. According to protocols stricter than most nations, the U.S. president is not allowed in open space rallies without a security sweep of the entire area.
Secretary of State John Kerry called the discussion over the U.S. representation at the rally “quibbling” and noted that he would stop in France on his way home from his current diplomatic trip to India to “make it crystal clear how passionately we feel about the events that have taken place there.”