Anonymous White House Official Denies that Charlie Hebdo Staff were Invited to See ObamaPosted: May 2, 2015
“Really, we just don’t understand the French.”
— Obama’s staff response, According to Luzier
Charlie Hebdo to meet with and draw President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the bloody terrorist attack on the publication’s offices in Paris.The White House on Friday denied a report in a French magazine that the administration invited staffers from the satirical weekly
“The idea was to have folks from Charlie to the White House. An interview? Awesome.”
Rénald Luzier, better known by his pen name, Luz, told the French magazine Les Inrockuptibles that U.S. officials conceived of the visit as a way to make up for the absence of a top American official at a march in support for Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 11, one week after the attack.
“We would have gone there directly. Except that they wanted to have a cartoonist come to draw Obama. This isn’t Montmartre. I said, ‘If he comes to Paris, I’ll put Budweiser in the fridge and I’ll draw him.’”
— Rénald Luzier
U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley attended the demonstration, along with leaders of Germany, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“We have seen some reports that a Charlie Hebdo staffer claims to have received, and declined, an invitation to the White House. These reports are not true. No such invitation was ever extended.”
— White House official, on condition of anonymity
But the absence of Obama, Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry led to accusations from American conservatives that the president was turning his back on freedom of speech. The attack, by two brothers of Algerian descent, was in apparent retaliation for cartoons that many Muslims saw as blasphemous. Twelve people were shot to death and 11 injured.
“Obama didn’t send an important representative, and sending John Kerry to see [French President François] Hollande wasn’t enough,” Luzier said.
“The idea was to have folks from Charlie to the White House. An interview? Awesome. We would have gone there directly. Except that they wanted to have a cartoonist come to draw Obama….(read more)
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