President Obama admitted on Sunday that he “should’ve anticipated the optics” of golfing just minutes after a sober statement on the brutal beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS, noting that “part of this job is also the theater of it.”
Obama sat down Sunday with NBC’s new “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd for a wide-ranging interview that touched on immigration, ISIS and other White House challenges. But Todd made sure to ask about that golf game, a moment that even supporters of the president admitted made him look tone deaf and disengaged.
“I gotta ask, during that vacation,” Todd said. “You made the statement on Foley, you went and golfed. Do you want that back?”
The president claimed it’s “always a challenge when you’re supposed to be on vacation, because you’re followed everywhere. And part of what I’d love is a vacation from the press –.”
“I promise you, in two and a half years I think that happens,” Todd joked.
“But there’s no doubt that, after having talked to the families — where it was hard for me to hold back tears listening to the pain that they were going through, after the statement that I made — that I should’ve anticipated the optics,” Obama admitted. “That’s part of the job.”
“You take this stuff, and it’s serious business, and you care about it deeply,” he explained. “But part of this job is also the theater of it. How you –.”
“You hate the theater of it,” Todd replied.
“Well, it’s not something that always comes naturally to me,” Obama conceded. “But it matters. And I’m mindful of that.”