Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Senate votes to repeal OCC 'true lender' rule Democrats cool on Crist's latest bid for Florida governor MORE (R-Fla.) said it was a "mistake" for the Obama administration to not have any high-level officials joining world leaders at the unity rally in Paris on Sunday.

"You're reporting on it this morning. And it will be reported around the world. Especially at a time of such great pain, people will take cues from something like that," Rubio, a potential 2016 contender, said Monday on "CBS This Morning."


"You recall what it felt like after 9/11 to have all these nations around the world rally to our side and take up our cause after we suffered so greatly," Rubio said. "The French are going through a similar trauma."

French President François Hollande was joined by a number of prominent world leaders at the rally in Paris on Sunday, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 

Attorney General Eric Holder, who recorded several interviews that appeared on Sunday morning shows, was in Paris for talks on combating terrorism but did not march in the rally. U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley did participate. She defended the absence of Holder and Secretary of State John Kerry, a French-speaker and frequent visitor to the country in an interview on CNN. Kerry was on a previously scheduled visit to India.

But the absence of any top U.S. officials drew criticism on social media. More than one million people attended the rally to oppose terrorism, according to reports.

The rally capped off a tumultuous week in France, where gunmen killed a dozen people at the offices of Parisian satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Another four were killed at a kosher supermarket during a hostage standoff.

On Sunday evening, Kerry — who is set to travel to France on Thursday and Friday, pushed back on the criticism.

"I don't think the people of France have any doubt about America's understanding of what happened, about our personal sense of loss, and our deep commitment to the people of France in this moment of trial," Kerry said.

"As far as public signs of French solidarity from the U.S. — don't forget several public statements from the president, his call to Hollande and a condolence stop to the French embassy," a senior Obama administration official told CNN on Sunday.

An unnamed White House official added to CNN on Sunday night: "It is worth noting that the security requirements for both the president and (vice president) can be distracting from events like this — for once this event is not about us!" 

Rubio acknowledged the heavy security and staff that accompanies President Obama's travel, adding it can be "disruptive." Still, he said, "it was a mistake not to send someone."

"Eric Holder was in Paris, and maybe John Kerry should have gone, and somebody else — a plethora of people they could have sent. I think in hindsight, I would hope, they would do it differently," Rubio said. 

"I thought it would have been important to have someone there," added Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees.

"I understand why the president himself didn't go, but perhaps someone else from his administration."