The White House’s decision on Saturday to scrap President Trump’s visit to a cemetery for fallen American soldiers due to weather irked more than a few observers, including those who have served their country in the military.
Trump, who is in France to commemorate the end, 100 years ago, of World War I, was scheduled to take a 30-minute helicopter ride from Paris to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau, France. But a rainy forecast for the area made it too risky for him to safely fly there, the White House said a couple hours before the president was to arrive at the ceremony.
“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,” the White House announced.
‘An unforced error… the military could have made this happen… there’s always a Plan B.’
White House chief of staff John Kelly and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the roughly 50-mile long trip to the cemetery in a small motorcade of vehicles, ABC News reported. The drive took about 90 minutes each way.
Separately, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled a similar distance by car to a World War I commemorative event in northern France, according to several media reports.
On Sunday, Trump is scheduled to visit American graves at Suresnes, and will give remarks, Bloomberg White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs tweeted.
But as for Saturday’s miss, “an unforced error… the military could have made this happen… there’s always a Plan B,” said retired Adm. James Stavridis, in an interview on MSNBC, citing the poor optics around Trump’s cancelation.
Most of the criticism stressed the rough conditions suffered by soldiers and sailors in the Great War — which claimed an estimated 40 million military and civilian casualties — and in all conflicts before and since.
.@realDonaldTrump cancels his trip to the U.S. Military Cemetery in France to honor WWI dead due to rain and his inability to figure out how umbrellas work. Instead, he’ll stick to honoring Vets his way by cutting the VA budget and trying to monetize Veterans healthcare. pic.twitter.com/GAVtshZ95Q
— Col. Morris Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) November 10, 2018
“Trump cancels US military cemetery visit due to weather” My grandfather’s friends from WWI are buried at Suresnes Cemetary and a President of the United States didn’t want to honor their deaths because of light rain. #Dispicable https://t.co/H6Yzz8MUT4
— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) November 10, 2018
.@justintrudeau drops umbrella (& the mic): “As we sit here in the rain, thinking how uncomfortable we must be these minutes as our suits get wet, and our hair gets wet…it’s all the more fitting that we remember on that day in Dieppe the rain wasn’t rain, it was bullets.” pic.twitter.com/lRUTRtt5FB
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) November 10, 2018
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