U.S. President Barack Obama returned to Washington late Sunday after a two-week vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Despite his taking time to respond to developments in Iraq, the Islamic State’s beheading of American journalist James Foley and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., the president was criticized for not cutting his vacation short to address the crises.
Obama was slammed for hitting the golf course moments after delivering a statement from Martha’s Vineyard condemning Foley’s beheading at the hands of Islamic State, the militant group formerly known as ISIS. Critics also said Obama should have spent more time at the White House as the unrest in Ferguson intensified. The president played nine rounds of golf during his vacation, according to a breakdown of his vacation activities compiled by the Associated Press.
Obama did return to the White House briefly last week to deliver a statement on Iraq and Ferguson. He also received the daily intelligence briefing and met with economic and senior advisers, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The president also had meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday last week at the White House involving the U.S. military operation in Iraq and the situation in Ferguson, USA Today reported. In addition, Obama and Biden discussed Iraq with members of the National Security Council.
Now that he’s back from vacation, Obama has to decide whether to authorize airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State. The president has yet to be presented with the associated military plans, but airstrikes are an option, according to AP.
Obama isn’t going to be in the capital for long. He’s first going to Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday to speak to the American Legion convention and then heading to New York and Rhode Island to aid Democratic fundraisers, AP said. Next week, the president will travel to Estonia to discuss developments in Ukraine and to Wales in the U.K. for a NATO summit.