While honoring Medal of Freedom recipient Jan Karski last night, President Obama caused some controversy after briefly touching upon one of the darkest moments in human civilization. When thousands upon thousands of Polish Jews, Polish Roma and Polish homosexuals rounded themselves up and incarcerated themselves in concentration camps strewn across the Polish countryside…
"Fluent in four languages, possessed of a photographic memory, Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II," Obama said. "Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself."
Wait a minute. That doesn't sound quite right…
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement later that Obama "misspoke" when he referred to a "Polish death camp," and what he was referring to were "Nazi death camps" inside Poland.
But the slip of the tongue had already caused some consternation in Poland, where foreign minister Radek Sikorski Tweeted: "The White House will apologize for this outrageous error," according to BuzzFeed, which first reported the error. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk was to make a statement Wednesday morning, Sikorski said. "It's a pity that this important ceremony was upstaged by ignorance and incompetence."
Well, this is definitely embarrassing, but there's got to be a way for the President to wiggle his way out from under the blame. If I were counseling Obama, I'd tell him to claim that he was acting under orders from his teleprompter.
Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Barack Obama, Germany, Nazis, Poland