US President Barack Obama’s casual reference yesterday about the deaths of 298 passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines MH17 has earned him flak from social media users, The Daily Mail reported.
No Americans have been confirmed dead, while an earlier Reuters report said it was feared that as many as 23 US citizens had perished.
The British tabloid reported that Obama said in Wilmington, Delaware, that “it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy”, but not before enthusiastically declaring that “it is wonderful to be back in Delaware”.
It also reported that the president also acknowledged the presence of treasury secretary Jack Lew with a joke.
Obama’s approach enraged social media users, with many expressing their disappointment on Twitter.
Former CNN host Piers Morgan tweeted: “President Obama massively dropped the ball just now.
“23 Americans killed and he says ‘it looks like a terrible tragedy’ then back to jokes?”
Pop singer Josh Groban tweeted: “I agree. Bad prep. I was shocked.”
Daniel Hannan, a British politician, tweeted; “Listening to Obama's statement [on] the airline tragedy, my mind went back to Reagan 31 years ago.
“How America's leaders have shrunk.”
Meanwhile, AFP reported that the White House warned yesterday that evidence from the Malaysian airliner shot down over Ukraine must not be moved from the country until a "thorough and transparent" investigation has taken place.
Obama and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko agreed in a telephone call on the need to prevent tampering with debris from the Boeing 777 jet that crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine after apparently being hit by a surface-to-air missile.
He also assured Poroshenko that US experts will "offer all possible assistance immediately" to investigate what caused the plane to plunge from the sky with its 298 passengers. – July 18, 2014.