Vice President Dick Cheney raised eyebrows on Friday for wearing an olive-drab parka, hiking boots and knit ski cap to represent the United States at a solemn ceremony remembering the liberation of Auschwitz.
Other leaders at the event in Poland on Thursday marking the 60th anniversary of the death camp’s liberation, such as French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, wore dark, formal overcoats and dress shoes or boots.
“The vice president, however, was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower,” Robin Givhan, The Washington Post’s fashion writer, wrote in the newspaper’s Friday editions.
Between the somber, dark-coated leaders at the outdoor ceremony sat Cheney, resplendent in a green parka embroidered with his name and featuring a fur-trimmed hood, the laced brown boots and a knit ski cap reading “Staff 2001.”
“And, indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults,” Givhan wrote.
Britain’s Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph newspapers also both noted that Cheney had opted for casual attire.
The Post’s Givhan said Cheney might have been hoping to avoid the cold weather in Oswiecim, but noted he had worn a dark overcoat and no hat at all at another recent winter occasion — his own swearing-in ceremony on Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 in snow-dusted Washington.
“The vice president might have been warm in his parka, ski cap and hiking boots,” Givhan said. “But they had the unfortunate effect of suggesting he was more concerned with his own comfort than the reason for braving the cold at all.”
Cheney’s staff had no comment on the story.