Iraq worries won't impact Obama's California trip

 

Surging sectarian violence in Iraq shouldn't affect President Obama's plans to spend Father's Day weekend in California, the White House said Friday.

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The president is slated to travel to Palm Springs on Friday night, after touring the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. While there, he's scheduled to give a commencement address on Saturday, as well as participate in a slate of fundraisers benefiting the Democratic Party, before returning to Washington on Monday evening.

Those plans aren't likely to change because of concern over the deteriorating situation in Iraq, spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday.

"I'm not aware of any discussion to alter the schedule for the trip at this point," he said.

Earnest added that the travel would not "inhibit his ability" to monitor the situation in Iraq.

Before leaving for North Dakota, Obama said he had ordered his national security team "to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces," and said he would be reviewing those plans "in the days ahead." 

But, Obama said, "although events on the ground in Iraq have been happening very quickly, our ability to plan, whether it’s military action or work with the Iraqi government on some of these political issues, is going to take several days."

"So people should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight," the president said.

The president was criticized in March for sticking to plans to take a weekend trip to Key Largo despite the Russian incursion into Ukraine.