On Monday afternoon, CNN’s Wolf covered the controversy surrounding President Obama’s playing of golf on a Hawaii golf course that forced an Army couple about to be married there to move their wedding during which CNN’s Chris Moody called the optics of the move “hilariously bad.”
Following a panel discussion on the 2016 presidential campaign, substitute host Brianna Keilar introduced the topic and after some background on what happened, Keilar and Time’s Zeke Miller did their best to defend the President and the White House, pointing out that there was “no way that the President” or the White House knew of this decision beforehand by the golf course. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
In addition, both stated that the President often goes there when he vacations in Hawaii so closing the golf course is “standard.”
“[T]he couple was warned in advance that they were using this property in case the President came to town,” Miller said.
He added that people there know that this “happens every year” when the First Family flocks to the Aloha State.
While CNN political director Chris Moody agreed, he emphasized that the entire situation does not reflect well at all on the Obama White House:
Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say he had no idea, no staffers had any. Still, the optics are hilariously bad. Service man, service woman having their wedding, golf is involved, President Obama has taken so many hits on that. So, even if maybe a staffer can just get a slap on the wrist or something for not knowing this or seeing this, it still looks bad.
Wrapping up the topic, Keilar gushed that the President did call the couple and that “[t]he bride was ecstatic, so that was good,” but guessed that a situation like this would not happen again.
The relevant portion of the transcript from CNN’s Wolf on December 29 is transcribed below.
December 29, 2014
1:56 p.m. Eastern
BRIANNA KEILAR: Ok, I want to end here on a bit of a talker. There's a story that’s coming out of Hawaii first reported by Bloomberg.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Obama Apologizes for Wedding Problems]
The President is vacationing, obviously, in Hawaii and he played golf this weekend and it appears, according to Bloomberg, that his golf game forced a couple, both of whom happened to be in the Army, to move the location of their wedding. So you can imagine what an upset this would be as it was initially to the bride, but what do you guys think about this? Weigh in.
WASHINGTON EXAMINER’s REBECCA BERG: The amazing thing is that not only did the President's golf game force this couple move to their wedding, but when they heard he was going to be in Hawaii during the time –
KEILAR: Before –
BERG: – of their wedding –
KEILAR: Yeah, before the wedding –
BERG: – they actually invited the President to their wedding and he declined. So, he declined their invitation and then made them move their wedding. It's adding insult to injury.
KEILAR: Ok, so, can I just saying something? In fairness, cause I was e-mailing someone and I thought, there is no way the President –
TIME MAGAZINE’s ZEKE MILLER: There’s no way.
KEILAR: – knew he was forcing them to move their wedding. My suspicions were confirmed by one source who said the President didn't know, the White House didn't know, and the golf course made this move without telling the President.
MILLER: And the couple was warned in advance that they were using this property in case the President came to town.
KEILAR: I guess it's standard.
MILLER: It’s standard.
KEILAR: It’s standard that you’re –
MILLER: They know this happens every year in the presence of him.
CNN’s CHRIS MOODY: Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say he had no idea, no staffers had any. Still, the optics are hilariously bad. Service man, service woman having their wedding, golf is involved, President Obama has taken so many hits on that.
MOODY: So, even if maybe a staffer can just get a slap on the wrist or something for not knowing this or seeing this, it still looks bad.
KEILAR: It’s not going to happen again and the President did call the couple. The bride was ecstatic, so that was good, but I don't think this is ever going to happen again.