POLITICS
01/20/2015 08:57 am ET

White House Chief Of Staff Denis McDonough Takes Blame For U.S. Absence At Paris March

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough took the blame for the absence of a high-profile U.S. official at a unity march following the recent Paris terror attacks.

“We’ve said that we regret we didn’t send someone more senior than our ambassador,” McDonough said in an interview with NBC’s “Today." “That rests on me, that’s my job.”

"I regret it in particular because the melee that ensued after that has covered up and obfuscated the very good progress that our intelligence agencies [have made]," McDonough added, noting the FBI, Department of Justice and others have been working with their French counterparts and other European allies after the attacks.

On Jan. 12, the Obama administration admitted it was wrong not to send a more high-profile representative of the U.S. to a Paris unity march that featured more than 40 world leaders. Jane Hartley, the U.S. ambassador to France, was the top U.S. official present at the march.

"I think it's fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "There are some who suggested that the U.S. presence at the march should have been represented by somebody with a higher profile than the ambassador to France. And I guess what I'm saying is we here at the White House agree."

Secretary of State John Kerry visited Paris on Jan. 16, bringing singer/songwriter James Taylor with him to serenade those who attended a speech given by Kerry at Paris city hall.

Watch McDonough on the "Today" show above.

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