On Saturday, Mr. Trump made a visit to Paris, France, to visit with French President Emmanuel Macron as well as other European leaders. Trump and Macron discussed Iran in a closed-door meeting. It was also reported that he was testy during discussions with world leaders, especially during discussions where he has differed with European leaders before, on defense spending and burden sharing.
During Trump’s visit, he decided to skip a World War I memorial at a U.S. cemetery in Paris due to rain. Mr. Trump has received a great amount of criticism for his poor decision, including from former President Obama’s top officials. Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser to Obama said:
‘I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years. There is always a rain option. Always.’
Winston Churchill’s grandson, Nicolas Soames who is a British member of Parliament, also heavily criticized Trump for not attending. He tweeted:
‘They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen.’
Former President George W. Bush’s speechwriter, David Frum, also blasted Trump’s decision. He said:
‘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 also reminded people since this is the case, there was no reason for Mr. Trump’s trip to Paris at all. He could have instead laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington instead.
Other world leaders attending the ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American cemetery outside of Paris included French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The White House issued a statement prior to the ceremony saying:
‘(Their attendance) has been canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather.’
According to Reuters:
‘White House officials said the decision was taken due to the weather and cited security concerns in hastily arranging a motorcade. Similar concerns prevented Trump from reaching the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea a year ago when foggy weather prevented his helicopter from landing.’
Trump, along with about 70 world leaders, is expected to attend a gathering at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Sunday morning to mark the commemoration of the centenary of the end of the war, when some 10 million soldiers were killed during four years of grinding conflict.
It is not clear what Trump did instead of visiting the memorial service at the cemetery on Saturday. According to the White House, he was at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Paris. During that time, he tweeted “Happy 243rd birthday” to the Marine Corps.
On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Trump is also scheduled to formally address attendees during a ceremony at the Suresnes American Cemetery to the west of Paris.
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