The memorial for slain journalist James Foley, an American correspondent and photojournalist covering news in Syria and Libya, was held Sunday in Rochester, New Hampshire. The mass at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary was standing room only. Conspicuously absent from the service however, even if there had been room, was anyone from the Obama administration.
Obama spoke last week from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts about Foley’s beheading, where he was vacationing with his family.
“Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL,” Obama said, saying the nation was “heartbroken” and condemning the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which he called a “cancer,” for “an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world.”
Obama called Foley was a man “who courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings.”
“His life stands in stark contrast to his killers,” Obama said. “ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.”
“Their ideology is bankrupt,” he added. “People like this ultimately fail. They fail because the future’s won by those who build and not destroy. The world is shaped by people like Jim Foley.”
Despite the flattering commentary, Obama did not send anyone to the memorial mass to represent his administration or to offer any personal condolences on behalf of the White House.
An administrative assistant at Holy Rosary, Connie Hammond, confirmed that no White House officials were in attendance.
“There was nobody that represented the White House,” Hammond said, providing an extensive list of governors and senators who did attend. A letter from Pope Francis was also read at Foley’s service.
President Obama, however, did send three White House aides to Monday’s funeral for Michael Brown, the 18-year-old African American who was gunned down by a white police officer – an incident which has sparked nationwide racial outcry.
According to The Associated Press, in attendance was Broderick Johnson, chairman of Obama’s My Brother's Keeper Task Force, Marlon Marshall, the deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Heather Foster, a White House advisor and St. Louis native who attended school with Brown’s mother. All three are black.
Speaking of Foley, Obama said last week: “Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother, and a friend.” He then was sharply criticized for immediately going golfing after the beheading was confirmed.
Reports Fox News: “The White House sent three officials to attend Monday's funeral for Michael Brown in St. Louis – three more than it sent for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral last year. The administration's handling of the Brown funeral already has started to raise comparisons between the two.”
CNSNews.com asked the White House why no official attended James Foley’s memorial.
“The President expressed his profound condolences to the family in his statement last week,” responded Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “He was speaking on behalf of his Administration – as well as the American people – in offering these words to the Foley family, and he continues to keep them in his thoughts as we attempt to bring the other American hostages home.”
In attendance at Brown’s funeral were Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy, Spike Lee, Jesse Jackson, and giving the eulogy, Al Sharpton.
Breitbart.com points out that Obama did not even attend the funeral for his own aunt, Zeituni Onyango, who played a large role in his autobiography. He sent a letter of condolence, but he was golfing at the time of the funeral.