Jay Carney was wrong? Wait, what?
Moments before Josh Earnest appeared for Monday’s press briefing, Carney, Earnest’s predecessor as presidential spokesman, predicted that the White House would not admit it was a mistake not to send a higher-profile official to Sunday’s Unity March in Paris.
“Is it okay for a press secretary once in a while, not very often, but once in a while to at least acknowledge to the American people the president of the United States may have made a mistake?” asked CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“Well, I don’t think you’ll hear that from my successor, Josh Earnest, today,” Carney said.”And I don’t think — the problem with this kind of discussion is that while in retrospect you could say, ‘Boy, it would have been better to avoid this very news story by sending a senior official,’ I think that anyone short of the president appearing there would have resulted in some of the criticism we’ve been seeing.”
However, no more than 15 minutes later, Earnest indeed conceded that the White House erred in judgment after 40 heads of state and government attended the march..
“Some have asked whether or not the United States should have sent someone with a higher profile than the Ambassador to France, and I think it’s fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there,” Earnest said.
Blitzer followed up by asking Carney if he ever admitted to a presidential mistake during a briefing. Carney dodged the question entirely. Carney made a living dodging such questions from the press secretary’s podium until last year.