By Justin Sink
President Obama is scrapping an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night TV show because of concern over global events, the White House said Tuesday.
"That is at least in part related to the challenges of doing a comedy show in the midst of some of these other, more serious matters that the president's dealing with in the international scene," Earnest conceded.
Obama has come under fire for keeping to his fundraising and event schedule following the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet last week and the outbreak of violence in Gaza.
On Tuesday, Earnest defended the president's decision to press on with fundraisers despite the international crises.
"My suggested standard would be whether or not those political activities interfere with the president's constitutional responsibilities as the commander in chief of the United States of America," the White House spokesman said.
Earnest said that, the day the passenger jet was downed, Obama "was able to attend to American interests around the globe, while conducting the political functions that go along with the job."
"The fact of the matter is the president, like most professionals, has the capability to deal with more than one priority at a time and particularly, somebody who has the trappings of the presidency alongside him," Earnest said.
"He's got his own airplane; he's got dedicated phone lines; he has senior advisers who will be accompanying him every step of the way to make sure that he has access to the information and technology necessary to represent American interests in the midst of these challenging international times."
The spokesman said Obama could change his schedule "to assure that he can fulfill his functions as commander in chief" if necessary but that he did not anticipate such alterations.
Earnest also said he believed "a significant portion of the president's time each of those days will be dedicated to participating in the presidential daily briefing, getting updates from his national security team about the situation on the ground, making phone calls to world leaders, consulting with his national security officials" while traveling.