President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are continuing their trip as scheduled, despite receiving criticism for not returning home following the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday.
After taking in a baseball game in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday, the first couple headed to Argentina where they attended the state dinner in Buenos Aires with the country’s president Mauricio Macri and first lady Juliana Awada.
After President Macri took the floor, thanking the Obamas for coming, President Obama had his own words for the room.
“My hope is that, given the extraordinary history between our two countries, that this is a new beginning. I am coming to the end of my term as President of the United States — Michelle, by the way, is quite pleased about that,” Obama said to laughter. “You are just getting started. But as we meet here today, what we recognize is that the opportunities and possibilities for our two countries are not bound by just two leaders.
“They’re bound by our fellow citizens, and the friendship, and the bonds, the common interests that we share and that we can promote. And if we do, that will be good for the world because both of our countries have extraordinary strengths and because we are democracies, both of our countries have the capacity to learn from some of the tragedies and pain of the past. That makes us, I think, uniquely situated to help to promote those things that we care about so deeply.”
During the dinner, the president and his wife took a lesson from the locals as they danced the tango with what appeared to be professional dance partners.
Although the entire Obama family observed a moment of silence in light of the Brussels attacks, the commander in chief still faced backlash when he decided against returning to America.
“It’s outrageous that the president of the United States is not in the situation room right now, planning to destroy ISIS,” former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News, before comparing the president’s absence a hypothetical situation in which Franklin Roosevelt remained at Warm Springs “when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.”
Giuliani added that it makes no different that Brussels is not American soil.
However, in a brief interview with ESPN, President Obama addressed the situation, saying that the goal of terrorism is to stop people from living their everyday lives.
“It’s always a challenge when you have a terrorist attack anywhere in the world, particularly in this age of 24/7 news coverage,” he said at the baseball game. “You want to be respectful and understand the gravity of the situation, but the while premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people’s ordinary lives … and as long as we don’t allow that to happen we’re going to be okay.”