White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday defended the decision to press on with an event about upcoming budget battles in Congress amid the developing situation at the Washington Navy Yard, calling the president's remarks "entirely appropriate."
Critics of the White House said that President Obama should have canceled the event in light of the shooting, saying the partisan tone of the president's remarks were inappropriate as law enforcement officials were possibly pursuing an additional shooter. In his comments, Obama said Republicans had been irresponsible in negotiations and questioned whether lawmakers were "beholden to one extreme wing of their party."
But Carney said their had been no discussion of scrapping the event.
"It's entirely appropriate today for the president to talk about it," Carney said.
The White House spokesman said that deadlines on the budget issues were "looming" and it was "an important thing for the president to talk about."
"Time is short," Carney said. "We need to address these challenges."
Earlier in the press conference, Carney said his "thoughts and prayers are with the families of victims and the victims themselves" and that the White House expected "seamless cooperation" between law enforcement officials.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced a recess in response to the events.