- President Donald Trump gave his version of events as to why he didn’t make it to a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I in Paris.
- He was widely ridiculed for his absence.
- Trump said he suggested driving to circumvent low visibility conditions that stopped him from taking his presidential helicopter to the ceremony.
- Former presidential aides doubted Trump’s story, and the French army may have mocked him for rain-checking the event.
- But Trump did give a speech in the rain at the American Commemoration Ceremony at Suresnes Cemetery, where he commented on the rain.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday explained why he didn’t make it to a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I in Paris after he was widely ridiculed for his absence.
Trump flew to Paris over the weekend to attend a number of ceremonies marking the end of the war and celebrating the post-World War II peace that Europe has enjoyed, but he missed a key event due to rain.
The White House said Trump’s trip to the memorial was “canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather,” which it said caused visibility issues that precluded Trump taking his helicopter to the site.
The White House later said it didn’t want to send the presidential motorcade because it would have disrupted Paris’ traffic.
On Tuesday morning, after mocking France for not fighting to the last man in World War II when it came under Nazi occupation, Trump tweeted his side of the story.
“[W]hen the helicopter couldn’t fly to the first cemetery in France because of almost zero visibility, I suggested driving. Secret Service said NO, too far from airport & big Paris shutdown. Speech next day at American Cemetery in pouring rain! Little reported-Fake News!” Trump tweeted.
On Twitter, former presidential staffers expressed disbelief that Trump couldn’t attend the memorial, which was a key reason for his trip to Paris. Ben Rhodes, a top staffer for President Barack Obama, said there was “always” a backup bad-weather plan on presidential trips.
It’s unclear if Trump’s White House plans for trips the same way Obama’s did.
Aisne-Marne contains nearly 2,300 graves of troops who fought in the surrounding areas in the summer of 1918.
France’s army appeared to mock Trump on Twitter on Monday, tweeting an English-language hashtag saying the rain didn’t bother them.
But Trump did give a speech in the rain at the American Commemoration Ceremony at Suresnes Cemetery, where he commented on the rain and pointed to people off stage under shelter and said they were “smart” for avoiding the weather.