U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he would be in Paris on Thursday to show solidarity with the people of France, after the worst terrorist attack in more than a generation.
Kerry made the announcement after the Obama administration was criticized for not sending a high-ranking official to a unity rally in Paris on Sunday.
CNN reports that Kerry defended that decision, saying the criticism amounted to “quibbling.”
“‘The U.S. has been deeply engaged with the people of France since this incident occurred,’ Kerry told reporters, adding that the United States has offered intelligence and law enforcement help.
“‘This is sort of quibbling a little bit in the sense that our assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was there and marched, our ambassador was there and marched, many people from the embassy were there and marched.’
The Wall Street Journal reported that Nuland actually marched in Washington, D.C.
The Associated Press reports that Kerry said he was going to France on Thursday, to reaffirm U.S. solidarity with its oldest ally.
The news service adds:
“He said as soon as he heard about the march, he asked his team what the earliest time was that he could go.
” ‘That is why I am going there on the way home and to make it crystal clear how passionately we feel about the events that have taken place there,’ he said. ‘I don’t think he people of France have any doubt about America’s understanding about what happened, about our personal sense of loss and our deep commitment to the people of France in this moment of trial.’ ”
Update at 12:29 p.m. ET. Holder Had To Return To Washington:
Brian Fallon, a spokesman for the Department of Justice issued this statement:
“The Attorney General changed his schedule to travel to Paris this weekend to personally express his solidarity with the people of France. He attended an emergency counterterrorism meeting at the French Interior Ministry and, though he had to return to Washington Sunday afternoon, he was proud to join the world leaders gathered in Paris at a summit convened by President Hollande before the unity rally. Standing alongside French officials, the Attorney General declared ‘we are all citizens of France,’ and pledged the Justice Department’s continued assistance to the French authorities as they conduct their investigation.”