President Obama should probably just stop taking vacations. He was barely settled in for a week of R&R on Martha’s Vineyard when two developments made sure he’d have no chance to get away from it all.
First, the military-controlled government in Egypt cracked down Wednesday on supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, leaving more than 600 dead and counting. Second, The Washington Post reported Thursday night that the National Security Agency — whose surveillance programs Obama has steadfastly defended — has committed thousands of violations of privacy rules, including the unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and phone calls. Oops.
It might be impossible for the president to chill for a few days. In December, Obama flew back from a family vacation in Hawaii to help keep the country from going over the “fiscal cliff.” He decided against a summer vacation in 2012 to focus on his reelection campaign. The summer before that saw the toppling of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi. Two years before that, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) passed away, and his funeral took place while Obama was on summer break.
The president’s Thursday statement on Egypt drew criticism on two fronts. Many insisted that simply breaking off a joint military exercise with Egypt while allowing more than $1 billion in annual aid to continue to flow would have no effect on the regime. Also, Obama made the announcement and then went to play golf — evoking President George W. Bush’s 2002 golf-course condemnation of “terrorist killers,” which he followed by telling reporters to “watch this drive.”
President Obama, for watching another vacation end with not so much rest or relaxation, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at firstname.lastname@example.org.