President Donald Trump traveled to Paris to take part in ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. But as the world joined to send a message of unity at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau, France, on Saturday, Trump decided to stay in his hotel room rather than go to the site that is of huge symbolic significance to the U.S. military considering it’s where the Battle of Belleau Wood was fought.
A White House statement said the visit was “canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather.” While it’s true that the Marines who fly the presidential helicopters are often reticent to fly in bad weather, many weren’t buying the excuse and saw the move as the latest sign of disrespect by the commander in chief to the country’s European allies. One of those who spoke up was a grandson of Winston Churchill. “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,” Nicholas Soames, a conservative member of the British Parliament, tweeted. He then added a hashtag: #hesnotfittorepresenthisgreatcountry.
Soames was hardly alone. David Frum, who was once a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, also expressed shock at the decision. “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. Ben Rhodes, who was deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, made it clear that weather isn’t really a valid excuse for a U.S. president. “I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years,” he tweeted. “There is always a rain option. Always.”