Note to the White House: If you’re going to wine and dine diplomats from other countries, you have to actually let them in.
Ambassadors from around the world arrived at the White House for today’s Diplomatic Corps Reception, hosted by the president and first lady in the East Room, which was scheduled for 4:30 this afternoon.
But according to one of the arriving diplomats, who spoke with my colleague Mark Landler, about 30 of them showed up at the southeast gate only to find that the list with their names and dates of birth had been somehow scrambled.
The result: the foreign representatives were made to wait outside, said the diplomat, who asked not to be named in the interest of relations between his country and the United States.
Among those who left rather than wait outside, he said, were Husain Haqqani, the Pakistani ambassador, and Hunaina bint Sultan bin Ahmad al-Mughairi, the ambassador from the Sultanate of Oman.
Had they all gotten in, they would have heard President Obama offer the following, according to the official transcript of the event: “Michelle and I are honored to welcome all of you. I’m mindful of that old saying about diplomacy —- that sometimes more can be accomplished at one party than 20 serious conversations. So have a wonderful evening, have a wonderful party, and I look forward to all that we can accomplish together, tonight and beyond.”
White House officials offered the following explanation:
“At the start of the reception for Chiefs of Mission and Charges d’Affaires, a few guests were delayed at the entrance to the White House due to an error in processing their personal data,” said Ben Chang, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “While eventually resolved, we regret that some departed due to the delay and apologize to those inconvenienced.” (Source NYT)