WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama returned to Washington just after midnight Monday for break from a summer vacation, during which airstrikes in Iraq and street clashes in Missouri intruded on his golf and beach plans.
Obama had meetings on both matters scheduled for Monday.
The exact reason for Obama’s return remained unclear, though it appeared aimed in part at countering criticism that Obama was spending two weeks on the Massachusetts resort island of Martha’s Vineyard in the midst of multiple crises.
His return to Washington was planned even before the U.S. military began striking targets in Iraq and before the standoff between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, over shooting death of a black teenager.
The president was scheduled to return to Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday night.
The president spent a leisurely Sunday on the island before his late night departure. He played a round of golf — his most frequent vacation activity — then attended a jazz concert and dinner with first lady Michelle Obama.
While Obama has had plenty of downtime since arriving in Martha’s Vineyard a week ago, he also made two public statements about the situations in Iraq and Ferguson. The president had ordered the Iraq strikes days before leaving for vacation, while the tensions in Ferguson boiled over during his vacation.