Donald Trump is in Paris this weekend, ostensibly to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
But the president canceled a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in northern France, citing “poor weather” as the reason. Instead, Chief of Staff John Kelly and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, will attend.
The president was immediately criticized by both Europeans and Americans for not going.
“Real low energy, @realDonaldTrump to not bother to honor the sacrifice of American soldiers in WWI due to some rain. Somehow everyone else was able to do so today. Obama never had this problem. He also visited our troops in war zones,” Kelly Magsamen, who served as a high-ranking Pentagon official on Asia affairs, wrote on Twitter.
Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser under Obama, noted he helped plan Obama’s foreign travel throughout his two terms and said it was common to have a backup plan to deal with inclement weather.
“There is always a rain option. Always,” he wrote in a tweet. “Trump will use the U.S. military for a pre election political stunt but sits in his hotel instead of honoring those who fought and died for America.”
On Instagram, Trump did make a statement to U.S. troops, posting a photo of himself speaking to service members at Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
“Happy 243rd Birthday to the GREAT U.S. Marine Corps!” Trump wrote.
We don’t know why Trump canceled the trip to the commemoration. Marine One, the president’s transport, has been grounded in the past due to bad weather, so it’s entirely possible the Secret Service nixed the visit. And given that Trump is a genuine target for the violent left, there may have been a threat that the public doesn’t know about.
Whatever the reason, the cancelation comes on the heels of an uncomfortable moment for the president as he met with French President Macron. Trump took offense at some idiot remarks that Macron made in a TV interview earlier in the week about an EU “army” formed to defend against Russia, China, and the United States. Trump called the remark “very insulting” and appeared ill at ease in his meeting with Macron earlier today.
The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial commemorates one of the most horrific American engagements of World War I — the Battle of Belleau Wood. More than 1800 Americans lost their lives in that battle and the Marines consider it a prime example of their qualities as fighting men.
Trump would have done well to find a way to attend the ceremony.