How Obama’s Lack of Character Led to Sgt. Tahmorressi Spending 214 Days in A Mexican Prison
“…the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.” – Barack Obama
On March 31st, 2014, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was driving to San Ysidro, a border town, when he accidentally missed his exit. Not realizing his mistake, he drove further, and wound up crossing the border into Mexico, where he was stopped. Mexican officials found several firearms in his possession, and he was arrested. Tahmooressi, a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, was thrown in jail, and set for trial. If found guilty, he would have faced up to 21 years in prison.
In 1999, a similar incident occurred, in which Sgt. Brian Johnston inadvertently crossed into Mexico with weapons in his possession, and was jailed in Tijuana. He was released after two weeks, and the charges were dropped because of political pressure from the United States. According to an LA Times article from November 14, 1999:
“Hunter and Bilbray [Republican Senators] were among a number of elected officials who had lobbied the Mexican government to release Johnston. President Clinton had promised Friday to intervene with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo if Johnston was not released.”
In the case of Sgt. Johnston, it took much lobbying from US Senators, as well as action from President Clinton himself in order to secure his release. What was an innocent mistake was made right by American officials, including Clinton himself, and Johnston was released after just two weeks. Unfortunately for Sgt. Tahmooressi, he did not have the help of a president like Bill Clinton–who for all his faults, actually did something to help his soldier–he had Barack Obama, who did nothing. Barack Obama sat on his hands for 214 days while Sgt. Tahmooressi–suffering from PTSD–sat in a Mexican prison.
According to The Washington Times, California Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who was part of the fellowship of politicians, and media figures whose efforts helped secure Tahmooressi’s release, said:
“The president, who is also the commander in chief, didn’t do his job…There is a lack of concern for this man, for this American hero who served our country. As commander in chief he showed a total disdain and non-interest in an American hero who served us in Afghanistan and a total disregard for the fact that he was suffering…The president didn’t care about it enough to make a simple phone call.“
Once again, according to The Washington Times, Rohrabacher even talked with VP Joe Biden during Tahmooressi’s incarceration to ask if president Obama would make a phone call to speak with officials in Mexico, but the phone call allegedly never took place, or it may have, but Tahmooressi’s release was not discussed, as far as Rohrabacher knows.
Tahmorressi’s release was not a simple partisan issue. Former Democratic Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson was part of the coalition that applied pressure to the Mexican government, as were Montel Williams, and Greta van Susteren. There was even a petition which amassed more than 130,000 signatures asking the Obama administration to do something about the situation. The White House responded with a clinical statement, speaking of John Kerry’s discussions with Mexican officials, assuring us that the wheels were in motion. The statement ended with this dispassionate assertion:
“We will continue to monitor the case and work with the Mexican authorities as this case proceeds through the Mexican judicial system. We continue to urge the Mexican authorities to process this case expeditiously.“
Wow. Thanks for that, Obama. Let’s do a rundown of president Obama’s activities while Sgt. Tahmooressi rotted in a Mexican prison. During the course of Sgt. Tahmorressi’s imprisonment, Obama attended approximately 46 fundraisers, played 33 rounds of golf, made 10 trips abroad for various meetings, and talks with world leaders, made dozens of speeches, and stumped for numerous Democratic candidates. I’m not saying that any of those things were wrong, but why was there not serious time devoted to a veteran suffering from PTSD who was languishing in a Mexican prison? Over 214 days, Obama was able to do so much, yet what did he do for Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi? Little to nothing.
It seems possible, if not very probable that with relatively minor pressure, Obama could have had Tahmooressi out of Mexico in the same amount of time it took Clinton, and his allies to get Sgt. Johnston out. But it wasn’t until a coalition of Republicans, Democrats, journalists, and celebrities banded together that Tahmooressi was freed after 214 days.
Was it not politically expedient for Obama to care? Was there not a scandal to cover up? Regardless, the president left a soldier behind, and didn’t care enough to see him freed. If that doesn’t reveal just a glimpse of his character—if there’s any at all—I don’t know what does.