Pres. Barack Obama has already declared his intention to nominate a Supreme Court justice for appointment with barely 10 months left in office. Meanwhile, he refuses to attend deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral. It is not clear why he will cold-shoulder the deceased justice’s funeral, according to a Politico report out yesterday.
Some say Obama’s vacancy at such a high ranking government official’s funeral is a clear sign of disrespect that is way over the top. Yesterday, Mr. Obama, whose popularity with the American people has struggled below 50 percent throughout much of his presidency, had his press secretary, Josh Earnest, publicly announce that he will skip Scalia’s state funeral.
Mr. Obama’s snub of the long-serving Supreme Court justice comes as he seeks support from a Republican-controlled Senate for his own candidate to replace Scalia. The move has baffled his allies in the press and incensed conservative media and Senate Republicans who the president needs to confirm his candidate for justice. Even former advisers to Mr. Obama are perplexed that he won’t attend the funeral of such a distinguished, high-ranking member of the American government.
“If we want to reduce partisanship, we can start by honoring great public servants who we disagree with,” Obama’s former “car czar” Steven Rattner tweeted with a link to a headline about Obama skipping the funeral.
Fox News host Sean dismissed Mr. Obama’s inaction as disappointing but not surprising in a print editorial: “Obama To SKIP Scalia Funeral, Here’s A List of Other Funerals He Was Too Busy To Attend.”
Mr. Obama decided not even to personally address his decision not to attend the funeral, opting to have his press secretary do that during a daily briefing in which he told reporters that Mr. and Mrs. Obama would stop by the Supreme Court Friday “to pay their respects to Justice Scalia” and that he would send Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden to attend the official ceremony.
For his part, Ernest said he didn’t know where the president would be Saturday, only that it wouldn’t be at Justice Scalia’s funeral. “The president, obviously, believes it’s important for the institution of the presidency to pay his respects to somebody who dedicated three decades of his life to the institution of the Supreme Court,” Earnest said, adding that Friday marked an “important opportunity” to pay those respects.
The president’s disrespect reverberated from coast to coast through liberal and conservative media, leaving many puzzled and others angry. Tim Miller, the communications director for Jeb Bush, simply tweeted “Same.” in response to a message from MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who said, “Some amazing advice my mom gave me once: ‘If you’re wondering whether you should go to the funeral, you should go to the funeral.”
Mr. Obama, who many consider a lame-duck president, has announced his intention to govern with executive orders and bypass Congress for the rest of his term. Despite showing his contempt by skipping the funeral of US Supreme Court Justice Scalia, Mr. Obama consistently insists and complains that it is the Republicans who are partisan.