To many, the famous picture of President Obama in the situation room, watching the SEALS enter Bin Laden’s compound looked fake. There were rumblings that he had to be brought in reluctantly or that he was photoshopped into the scene. He looks out of place in his presidential windbreaker and not all that interested.
Many believe that Valerie Jarrett had denied the SEALS three times before and this time Defense Secretary at the time Leon Panetta overrode her and sent them anyhow. Obama never seems to have been very involved in the decision making.
Now comes confirmation from his best bud, Reggie Love. The Blaze tells the story, followed by a clip of Love recounting the story.
On the day Navy SEALs were raiding Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan and killing the 9/11 mastermind, President Obama didn’t spend every moment in the White House situation room. Instead, the commander in chief played cards in a private dining room that day, too — about 15 games of spades, in fact, his former personal assistant Reggie Love recently told a UCLA forum.
“Most people were like down in the Situation Room and [Obama] was like, ‘I’m not going to be down there, I can’t watch this entire thing,’” Love recalled during a Q&A at an Artists & Athletes Alliance event.
Instead, Love said he, Obama, White House photographer Pete Souza, and staffer Marvin Nicholson got together in a nearby private dining room and “must have played 15 games of spades” (and were interrupted by a steady stream of dispatches, according to UCLA Today).
Also interesting was Love’s description of how that all-important day was spent: Love said Obama usually worked half days on weekends, but on the day of the raid—Sunday, May 1, 2011, he and Obama spent the entire day at the White House “until almost midnight.”
Love added that when he left the White House later that night, after the president delivered news of bin Laden’s death, “there were thousands of people out on Pennsylvania Avenue, people crying and cheering. It was a very powerful, moving day.”
We should be clear that Love didn’t specify which parts of the Situation Room activities Obama chose to skip. There is the famous photo published by the White House showing him in the room during what appears to be the climax of the raid. Still, it will likely raise questions regarding how the president may have reacted during another important military event during his presidency: the terror attack on the compound in Benghazi.
If he was playing cards while others were down in the situation room on arguably the most important night of his presidency, some will wonder, what might Obama have been doing on the night of the Benghazi raid more than a year later?
Below are Love’s videotaped comments. (Although the the Artists & Athletes Alliance event occurred last month, according to Red Alert Politics, Love’s comments first started getting play today.)
For his specific comments about the night bin Laden was killed, go to the 6:15 mark: