The Obama administration is coming under fire from Republicans and some Democrats after they apparently forgot to release a statement marking the 17th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
“The White House should know better,” Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) told Fox News. “That is a significant national event. It’s a little perplexing why the president and the White House would recognize other things on that day but would fail to recognize and remember a very significant event that happened in a federal building in 1995.”
The bomb blast killed 168 people including 19 children. Timothy McVeigh was convicted and executed for the attack. His conspirator Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.
Fox television affiliate KOKH was the first to report on the slight noting that the White House marked the passing of television icon Dick Clark – but not the Murrah bombing. A search of the White House website turned up statements from last year and previous years but not in 2012. A White House spokesman did not return calls seeking comment.
Oklahoma GOP chairman Matt Pinnell called the slight an “epic fail” and said he was disappointed.
Wallace Collins, the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party was also disappointed and said he would “chastise” the White House.
“I’m disappointed that he didn’t but I don’t think that he did it as a slight to Oklahoma,” Collins told Fox News. “They may have just had bigger issues on their plate.”
Pinnell told KOKH he hoped the president was not intentionally ignoring Oklahoma.
“If that bombing would have taken place in the state of Florida or Ohio or Pennsylvania – one of these swing states – they may not have forgotten it. In a state where he’s not very popular in – I certainly hope that’s not the case,” he told the television station.
That comment infuriated Collins who accused the Republicans of trying to play politics.
“Is he forgetting the fact that the bombing was done by somebody of his bent – in other words a right-winter,” he said.”If Timothy McVeigh were alive today, he most likely would be a Tea Partier.”
Lankford called Collins’ accusation a “really sad commentary.”
“This was done by an irrational person who was anti-government and lashed out at a federal building and killed 168 people including 19 children,” the congressman said. “That was not some act of rightwing extremism – that was an act of absolutely anti-government radicalism that is not condoned by any party.”
As for how the Obama administration might be able to right the wrong?
“They missed a day,” Lankford said. “They missed a moment to remember. And it won’t come around until next year. And quite frankly, I hope that this president is not sitting in this office to remember it next year – that he can remember it as a private citizen.”