While President Obama was marking the holidays in his native Hawaii with his family and friends--and handling the fallout of the Flight 253 terrorist attack--White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was vacationing in India with his wife and three children.
I'm told by the White House the Emanuel trip "was personal family travel, not official, and he did not hold any official meetings." Emanuel departed the U.S. on Dec. 21st and returned Jan. 1.
I asked if Emanuel kept tabs on the Flight 253 crisis while abroad and was told, "he was in touch with the White House and White House staff throughout his trip, and did spend some time working."
The Indian press reported on Emanuel in India. This from the Deccan Chronicle:
"The United States' advisory to its citizens cautioning them about travel in India depressed many in the tourism industry, but then the Americans themselves recently undid the damage, albeit inadvertently. President Barack Obama's aide and White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, recently holidayed in India and happily took in the sights and sounds of the wildlife, the forts of Rajasthan and also undertook the mandatory road trip to the Taj Mahal in Agra. He rounded off his holiday with a meeting with the US ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer and the embassy staff."
This from the Indian Express:
US President Barack Obama's key aide and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's vacation in India had its official overtones. Not only did he have some important meetings, the Prime Minister's media advisor, Harish Khare, is said to have worn the diplomat's hat and hosted him for a trip to Old Delhi, showing him around the "spice streets". Incidentally, the first leg of his trip, in the third week of December, clashed with the King of Bhutan's state visit, and the two happened to be staying in the same hotel. The hotel staff was clear that no other guest's bodyguards could be allowed inside the premises with weapons when a head of state was residing in the hotel. This created a fair amount of confusion with the hotel ultimately making an exception only when the local police stood guarantee.