When he first entered office, President Obama sent back the bust of Winston Churchill. Now he is refusing to attend former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, and no one serving in his Administration will be going either. Not Vice President Biden, not Michelle, not even Secretary of State John Kerry.The decision was made before the bombing in Boston.
Who is going? George Shultz and James Baker; both served as Secretary of State while Thatcher was prime minister.
Obama’s snub hasn’t gone unnoticed in Britain. Sir Gerald Howarth, chairman of the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward group of MPs and peers, said, “The bonds forged between the UK and the US through Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was instrumental in ending the Cold War and liberating millions of people. That the present administration feels unable to be represented as the world marks the extraordinary contribution Margaret Thatcher made will be a source of disappointment to those who served with her in that great endeavor.”
Former defense secretary Liam Fox, a close ally of Thatcher, said, “I think it would be both surprising and disappointing if after President Obama's fulsome tribute to Lady Thatcher, the American administration did not send a senior serving member to represent them.”
The Republican Party is sending three members of the House of Representatives: Marsha Blackburn, Michele Bachmann, and George Holding. Newt Gingrich will also be attending, along with Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger. None of the former presidents will be going, including George W. Bush.
As Obama stays home, other world leaders will be in attendance: Stephen Harper of Canada, Italy’s Mario Monti, and Donald Tusk from Poland.
When President Ronald Reagan died in 2004, Margaret Thatcher attended his funeral as did Prince Charles, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mikhail Gorbachev, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, French President Jacques Chirac, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among many others.