By Luke Baker PARIS (Reuters) – President Donald Trump was unable to attend a French cure for US soldiers and…
By Luke Baker
PARIS (Reuters) – President Donald Trump was unable to attend a French cure for US soldiers and navalists killed during World War II on Saturday because rain made it impossible to arrange transport, the White House said.
The last minute interruption led to profound criticism of social media and from some UK and US officials like Trump had “rude” American soldiers.
The chairman would plan to be celebrated at a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, about 85 km (50 miles) east of Paris, with his wife Melania. But light steady rain and a low cloud roof prevented his helicopter from traveling to the place.
“(Their Presence) has been interrupted due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather,” the White House said in a statement, adding that a delegation led by Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retiree general, went instead.
The decision led to a criticism of Twitter, with Nicholas Soames, a British parliamentary who is a grandson of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, saying that Trump was unhappy American soldiers.
“However, with their face to the enemy and the pathetic insufficient @realDonaldTrump could not even bother the weather to pay his respect to the Fallen,” wrote Soames on Twitter.  White House officials said the decision was made due to the weather and cited safety concerns in order to quickly arrange a motorcade. Similar fears prevented Trump from reaching the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea a year ago when foggy weather prevented his helicopter from landing.
Ben Rhodes, acting as Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications under President Barack Obama, said the excuses for the bad weather did not arise.
“I helped to plan all of Obama’s travel for 8 years,” he wrote on Twitter. “There is always a rain option. Always.”
Despite the light rain, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel held a refugee ceremony in Compiegne, Northeast Paris, to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the World War One Coat of Arms.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in his own ceremony to commemorate Canadian troops killed at Vimy Ridge in battlefields in northeastern France.
Around 70 leaders, including Trump, are scheduled to gather on the Triumphal Arch in Paris on Sunday morning to mark the celebration of the century in the end of the war when about 10 million soldiers were killed during a four-year slaughter conflict.
It was not clear what Trump decided to do instead of going to the cemetery. The White House said he was with the US ambassador in Paris. During that time, he sent a tweet who wanted a “Happy 243rd Birthday” to the US Marine Corps.
The president is scheduled to attend a ceremony at Suresnes American Cemetery in West Paris on Sunday afternoon when he is expected to make formal comments.
(Further Reporting by Kate Holton and Steve Holland; Writing by Luke Baker; Editing Clelia Oziel)