The right-wing media have continuously attacked President Obama for proceeding with his long-planned trip to Latin America in the wake of the crises in Japan and Libya, often mocking his trip as a “vacation.” In fact, the President's trip will be “focused on economic opportunities for the United States and the trade relationship” with Latin American nations.
Right-Wing Media Attack Obama's Latin America Trip As A Vacation
Fox & Friends' Doocy Declares Obama's Latin America Trip “Is A Vacation.” During the March 18 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said of Obama's trip to Latin America: “What is happening with the president while all of this is going on in the United States and around the world? He's going on vacation. He's going to Rio. You've got to be kidding. Taking his family. It sounds like a vacation to me. Rio? Hello?” Later Doocy stated: “Rio is a vacation.” [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 3/18/11]
Fox & Friends Graphic: “The President's Spring Break?” During the March 18 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the following on-screen texts aired during a report on Obama's upcoming trip:
[Fox News' Fox & Friends, 3/18/11]
Wash Times: “Obama Couldn't Care Less.” A March 17 Washington Times editorial criticized President Obama for his recent actions and activities, stating that “the president parties while the world burns,” and calling the past week “President Obama's spring break.” [Washington Times, 3/17/11]
“Partyboy President” Obama Is Our “Most Self-Indulgent President” Ever. A March 17 post to Andrew Breitbart's Big Government.com, entitled “Obama: Our Partyboy President,” stated: “In two short years, Barack Obama has wrested the crown for most self-indulgent president from Monica Lewinsky's ex-boyfriend, Bill Clinton.” Additionally, the post included the following image:
[Big Government, 3/17/11]
Fox Nation: “Obama Family Hitting The Beach In Rio This Weekend.” A March 17 post to Fox Nation entitled “Obama Family Hitting the Beach in Rio This Weekend” quoted a Daily Mail article which stated: “Mr Obama has refused to scrap a five-day trip to Latin America that will take him to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador. Resisting demands that he should remain at home in the White House to deal with the international response to Japan's nuclear crisis and Colonel Gaddafi's crackdown on anti-government rebels, the president insists he can stay on top of the fast-moving developments while on the road. Some Republican critics have complained the sunshine trip symbolises Mr Obama's lack of leadership at a time of international chaos.” [Fox Nation, 3/17/11]
Fox Nation Criticizes Obama's Refusal To “Scrap” Trip To Central America. A Fox Nation post on March 16 mentioned Obama's trip to Latin America, stating that he “refus[ed] to scrap a five-day trip” on Friday that will “take him to sun-dappled Rio de Janeiro, among other places, rather than staying home to focus on the increasingly disastrous international news confronting his crisis-weary White House.” [Fox Nation, 3/16/11]
Crowley: “The World Is Aflame! Go To Work!” On Fox Business Channel's America's Nightly Scoreboard, panelist Monica Crowley said: “We're living in a media world. Perception is reality. He's always shooting hoops, he's having Terry Bradshaw nights at the White House, he's in Rio. The world is aflame! Go to work!” [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 3/15/11]
Right-Wing Media Aghast Obama Can Focus On More Than One Issue At A Time. Previously, the right-wing media have attacked President Obama for supposedly not focusing on crises in Japan and Libya by instead honoring women's history month, going golfing, and filling out NCAA tournament brackets. Yet, Obama has engaged on both issues by making numerous public addresses and ordering humanitarian relief efforts in Japan and the Middle East. [Media Matters, 3/16/11]
But The President's Trip Is Not A Vacation, Instead Focuses On American Jobs, Economy
President Obama: “Jobs At Top Of Latin America Agenda.” A March 18 editorial in USA Today written by President Obama stated:
[I]n this increasingly interconnected and fiercely competitive world, our top priority has to be creating and sustaining new jobs and new opportunities for our people.
That's one of the reasons I will travel to Latin America this week -- to strengthen our economic relationship with neighbors who are playing a growing role in our economic future. [USA Today, 3/18/11]
Morning Joe: Obama Going To Rio “To Promote Jobs And American Exports.” During the March 18 broadcast of Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough discussed the president's upcoming trip to Latin America with the show's contributors. From the broadcast:
BUCHANNAN: I don't know if it's a good idea to go partying in Rio this weekend when we're talking about air strikes on Libya.
SCARBOROUGH: I missed that press release from the White House. Is the president quote, partying in Rio? Okay, so what is he doing -- Steve Rattner, what is the president doing in Rio this weekend?
RATTNER: He's going to promote jobs and American exports. [MSNBC's Morning Joe, 3/18/11]
Carney: The President's Trip To Latin America Is An Attempt To Bring “Economic Growth” to U.S. A Yahoo news article quoted White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who stated of the trip: “You have to remember that economic growth in the United States is the president's top priority. This trip is very focused on economic opportunities for the United States and the trade relationship.” [Yahoo News, 3/16/11]
AP: Obama Trip To "Build Job-Creating Opportunities For The United States And To Address Regional Security Concerns." From a March 18 Associated Press article:
Over the next five days, Obama is to travel to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador in what the White House is casting as a mission to build job-creating opportunities for the United States and to address regional security concerns.
The trip, considered by many in the hemisphere as long overdue, is also an effort to solidify relationships that have slipped two years after Obama declared “a new chapter of engagement” with the region.
In that time, China has expanded its economic footprint in the region and has surpassed the United States as Brazil's top trade partner.
Despite the competing, pressing demands on the president's attention, the White House has been determined to proceed with the trip, emphasizing the potential the region holds for U.S. economic growth.
“It's imperative that the United States not disengage from these regions,” deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said. “When we disengage, our ability to advance partnerships that serve our interest suffers.” [The Associated Press, 3/18/11]
Cancelling Obama's Trip To Latin America Could Be Viewed As “Major Setback In U.S. Relations” With The Region. A post to America's Quarterly, the policy journal for the Council of the Americas, argued:
Amidst nuclear meltdown in Japan, growing pressures to respond to the carnage in Libya and the specter of a possible U.S. government shutdown, flitting rumors have circulated that the visit of President Barack Obama to three Latin American countries may be cancelled or postponed. This would be a major setback in U.S. relations with the Western Hemisphere, signaling once again that Latin America is at or near the bottom of U.S. foreign policy priorities." [America's Quarterly, 3/15/11]