Light, steady rain resulted in President Trump cancelling plans to attend a commemoration in France on Saturday to honor U.S. soldiers killed during World War I.
Trump came to France to take part in ceremonies marking the end of the war — 100 years ago. He would have taken a 30-minute helicopter ride from Paris to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau.
But just a couple of hours before the visit, the White House announced:
“The President and First Lady’s trip to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial has been canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather.”
Rain allegedly grounded the presidential helicopter, so Trump, who did not serve in the Vietnam War and instead got a total of five deferments, canceled the trip.
Chief of staff John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford went in his place.
VoteVets, a veterans lobby group, tweeted on Saturday:
Donald Trump complained about having to stand in the rain, to speak about the massacre in Pittsburgh, because it messed his hair up (more).
“More than 7,000 were killed or wounded in the June 1918 battle at Belleau Wood and the cemetery contains the graves of 2,289 war dead,” according to Military.com.
The visit was one of two Trump had planned to war cemeteries on a weekend coinciding with Veterans Day in the U.S.
David Frum, once a speechwriter for President George W. Bush,
said on Twitter that Trump could have used a presidential motorcade instead of a helicopter, as central Paris is less than 60 miles from the monument.
“It’s incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary — and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow,” Frum wrote.
“But bottom line: Trump willfully insisted on an unnecessary trip to France to mark the World War I centenary — then once he got there shirked, on grounds of weather, the job of honoring those who fought and died in.”
White House insiders said that organizing a motorcade for the president would be difficult to at the last-minute. But, Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser for strategic communications under former President Barack Obama, said there’s always a rain option.
Rhodes said on Twitter:
On Sunday, in Paris, Trump, attended a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the base of the Arc de Triomphe. However, he arrived a few minutes late, “missing the exact moment — 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918 — that four years of fighting ended,” according to