White House Insider: Daley Forced Obama Apology to Family of Fallen Soldier
A brief update from our longtime D.C. political insider details the confrontation between White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and President Barack Obama over Obama’s disturbing error in declaring a deceased medal of honor recipient alive and well during a public speech to military personnel.
Received this from highly trusted source within WH and hope you can please publish ASAP. Noted you have covered this story somewhat already, but there is so much more that took place behind the scenes.
Last Thursday, as has already been well documented, President Obama gave brief speech to military personnel at Fort Drum where he mistakenly declared Medal of Honor recipient Jared Monti as being alive. SFC Monti was killed in combat in 2006. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama posthumously in 2009. For such an error to be made publicly in what was a blatant attempt to use the military as a much needed PR backdrop stunt for the president had the president’s people scrambling to figure out what to do to minimize the potential damage – the kind of damage that could have been significant to the president.
President Obama was not made aware of his mistake until some two hours after the Fort Drum speech when he was travelling to a DNC fundraiser later that afternoon. Upon learning of his mistake the president’s primary concern, which he made known to all those around him, was if it was already being reported in the media. When he learned little reporting on it had been done, and that the situation was already being “contained” via media contacts, the president’s mood and tone became much more relaxed.
That lasted until the following day when an early morning briefing to the president indicated his error regarding SFC Monti was beginning to “get some legs”. There was apparently some division among his advisers on how to proceed, but ultimately they decided upon a wait and see approach, which President Obama indicated was what he was most comfortable with. He was not due back to the WH until later that afternoon.
When word of the gaffe by the president reached White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Daley was said to be “openly angry” when learning that no apology by the president to the family of SFC Monti had yet been made. Daley demanded time be scheduled for him to meet with the president as soon as Obama was back at the WH, and that the president be contacted immiediately to be informed that meeting request.
Upon his arrival at the WH, Obama went directly to the Private Residence on the second floor. Daley was informed of the president’s arrival and made his way to the Oval Office, again requesting the president be made aware that he would be waiting to meet with him in the Oval Office. Apparently President Obama ignored that message or did not receive it, because after nearly 30 minutes of waiting, Chief of Staff Daley made the trip from the Oval Office to the second floor residence area of the White House where he was informed President Obama was meeting with advisers in the Oval Room. Daley made his way there but did not find anyone – they were in fact inside the Treaty Room just adjacent to that area. President Obama apparently spends as much time in the Treaty Room than the actual Oval Office because of its closer proximity to Valerie Jarrett’s own office on the second floor, thus allowing both of them to bypass much of the West Wing personnel on the first floor.
When he found Obama, Daley reportedly instructed all other staff to leave the room. One adviser was said to have objected, but Daley simply pointed to the door and declared “OUT”, at which time they too left the president alone with Daley. I do not believe Jarrett was there as that fact would have been made clear to me. Daley’s demeanor was described as “very serious”. Whatever was said between the White House Chief of Staff and President Obama is not known, as nothing could be overheard. Sound does not travel as easily on the second floor as it does inside the first floor of the West Wing. There was no shouting, and the meeting itself did not last more than a few minutes. Daley, “still looking pissed” left the Treaty Room where the president remained. Within an hour of his meeting with Bill Daley, President Obama was calling the family of SFC Monti to make an apology. The fact of that apology was then released to the media and more widely reported than the actual mistake from the president that required the apology be made.
I am convinced Bill Daley forced the president to apologize to the family of SFC Monti, and without his direct intervention into the matter, that much deserved apology would not have come.