Of all people, John Kerry should know that politics and water sports just don’t mix, yet once again the secretary of State found himself in the most patrician of controversies when he was spotted on his yacht as Egypt’s military ousted President Mohammed Morsi. CBS News’s Mosheh Oinounou tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that a colleague saw Kerry board “Isabel,” his 76-foot yacht. “No response when she shouted ‘Morsi,’” noted Oinounou. A few hours later, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki turned a fairly benign story into the perfect holiday weekend mini-scandal by deeming any reports of Kerry on a seafaring vessel “completely inaccurate.” “Since his plane touched down in Washington at 4 a.m., Secretary Kerry was working all day and on the phone dealing with the crisis in Egypt,” said Psaki.
The Boston Herald quickly sprung into action, calling on freelance photojournalist Ryan Hutton to spend his Fourth of July tailing Kerry on Nantucket. Despite some unsuitable yachting weather that threatened to put an end to the controversy, Arthur Pollock, the Herald’s associate photo editor, says Hutton “didn’t have to wait long for [Kerry] to come paddling out in his little kayak.”
On Friday, after photos of Kerry kayaking to a small white boat surfaced on the Herald’s website, the State Department was forced to admit that Kerry participated in some aquatic recreation. “While he was briefly on his boat on Wednesday, Secretary Kerry worked around the clock all day including participating in the president’s meeting with his national security council,” said Psaki, rattling off the names of eight foreign leaders Kerry called during the holiday to discuss the situation in Egypt. According to Politico, he did not place any of those calls from his yacht, making it somewhat less likely that he told Egyptian dignitaries still dealing with the fallout from their country’s revolution, “You’ll have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel.”