President Donald Trump snubbed a key part of the Armistice commemorations yesterday by scrapping a planned visit to an American First World War cemetery in France to honour fallen US marines.
The White House’s excuse that the trip was called off because of rain was met with a social media blacklash, especially after a very public spat with French President Emmanuel Macron seemed to have soured Mr Trump’s mood.
Although low cloud apparently prevented the President’s Marine One helicopter from flying the 55 miles from Paris to Belleau Wood battlefield and the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, critics wondered why the 90-minute journey couldn’t have been made by road.
Among the furious critics was British MP Nicholas Soames, grandson British wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.
Mr Soames said in a tweet that Trump ‘is not fit to represent this great country’ over the cancellation.
‘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,’ he said.
Trump is seen right being welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron (left) at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Saturday
Speculation is growing over why the commander in chief of the US military would be put off by the drizzle.
Mr Trump and First Lady Melania’s no-show on Saturday afternoon followed a row with Mr Macron over France’s contribution to Nato. The French leader said the EU needed a joint army now the US was pulling out of a disarmament treaty with Russia.
‘We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,’ he said. A furious Mr Trump tweeted in response: ‘Very insulting.’
Mr Macron is one of a number of EU leaders, including Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel who have called for a joint military project from 27 member states to protect Europe.
On Saturday however it was Trump who received furious criticism, and not Mr Macron.
The Battle of Belleau Wood in June 1918 was a pivotal victory, largely credited to US Marines who defeated a huge German force. More than 1,800 Americans were killed. In total, 8,100 soldiers died in the month-long battle.
Political commentator David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, contrasted the sacrifices made by the 116,000 US troops who died in the war to Mr Trump’s lack of resolve.
He tweeted: ‘None of this is surprising. Doesn’t make it any less dismaying. These troops fought victoriously alongside allies with whom the US still stands today. It’s worth a few miles in a limo, a few words from under a tarp.’
Ben Rhodes, a former senior staffer to Barack Obama, tweeted: ‘I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for eight years. There is always a rain option. Always. Trump will use the US military for a pre-election political stunt but sits in his hotel instead of honoring those who fought and died for America.’
Mr Trump’s Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, made the hour-long journey by road from Paris.
Mr Trump’s cancellation came after a day of tension between the US and French leaders.
In response to Mr Macron’s suggestion that the EU should have its own army, Mr Trump tweeted on Friday night: ‘President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of Nato, which the US subsidizes greatly!’
The frosty relationship took a turn for the worse on Saturday morning during talks at Elysee Palace in Paris as Mr Macron awkwardly reached out to pat Mr Trump’s leg. In marked contrast with the pair’s power-grip handshakes and back slaps at previous meetings, a stony-faced Mr Trump appeared unimpressed. Later, he offered a begrudging thumbs-up while the tactile French president pawed at his arm.
President Donald Trump was trashed on social media for canceling an appearance honoring fallen World War One vets at a U.S. military cemetery in France because of the weather. Former Pentagon official George Little (left) and comedian Sarah Silverman took the President to task on Saturday
Two of President Trump’s most vocal critics – David Frum and Bill Kristol – also hammered the President on Saturday
Twitter users noted that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (seen center alongside Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O’Regan, left, and Canadian Ambassador to France Isabelle Hudon) made the effort to pay homage to the war dead in France despite the weather. Trudeau is seen above at Vimy Ridge, France following a ceremony on Saturday
Donald Mackay (left) noted that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the effort to visit memorials despite the weather. Steve Schmidt, a former Republican Party operative, also blasted the president, calling him a ‘disgrace’
Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, was critical of Trump’s decision to skip the event. Ben Rhodes (right), a former senior aide to President Barack Obama, tweeted that ‘there is always a rain option’
To illustrate the contrast between Trump and other world leaders, Twitter users on Saturday shared video of Trudeau giving a speech in the rain, though the clip of the Canadian premier was from last year. In August 2017, Trudeau flew to France to pay homage to the fallen soldiers who took part in the Dieppe raid
As they prepared to meet for dinner last night, Mr Macron tried to smooth over the row, saying: ‘We need a much better burden sharing within Nato. When President Trump has to protect one of the states of the United States he doesn’t ask France or Germany or another country to finance. That’s why I do believe that we need more investments.’
‘The President and First Lady’s trip to Ainse-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial has been canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather,’ the White House said.
‘An American delegation led by Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford will attend on their behalf.’
However, the White House’s claim that logistical difficulties inhibited Trump wasn’t accepted as an answer by some on the left side of the Atlantic, either.
Ben Rhodes, a former national security adviser to Barack Obama, said the Trump administration should have tried harder to get the sitting president to the memorial event.
‘I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years. There is always a rain option. Always,’ he contended.
On Twitter, Trump’s critics blasted the President.
Bill Kristol, the longtime neoconservative commentator and fierce Trump critic, tweeted: ‘On the Marine Corps’ 243rd birthday, President Trump has cancelled, because of light rain, his long-planned attendance at the ceremony at Aisne-Marne, where Marines who fought at Belleau Wood are buried.
‘The WH COS and JCS Chair will be there. The President couldn’t be bothered.’
Donald Mackay tweeted a photo of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paying a visit to Vimy Ridge on Saturday, where he honored Canada’s war dead.
‘Doesn’t look like the weather is too bad – at least not for a Canadian,’ Mackay tweeted in the caption above the photo showing Trudeau and his aides.
Sarah Silverman, the liberal comedian, was blunt. She implicitly referenced Trump’s draft deferments that he received enabling him to avoid service in Vietnam.
‘Trump you f*****g p***y,’ she tweeted.
‘Too entitled to serve our country when called, too afraid of your stupid hair getting wet to honor those braver than you.
‘You F***. (Don’t @ me w/ he couldn’t fly- it was a 90 minute drive).’
Steve Schmidt, a former senior Republican Party operative who renounced his membership in the GOP over Trump, tweeted: ‘The “Commander in Chief” disgraced the United States Marine Corps today.
‘He is a disgrace.’
Former Pentagon official George Little tweeted: ‘I’ve walked American military cemeteries overseas with General John Kelly. I can’t imagine he’s thrilled with his boss today.
‘In fact, I imagine he’s disgusted.’
Trump called off a a trip to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial on Saturday after a bad weather call grounded Marine One. His chief of staff, John Kelly, (left) went to the event instead
David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and another Trump critic, tweeted: ‘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.’
Trump, Trudeau, and other world leaders are in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War.
To illustrate the contrast between Trump and other world leaders, Twitter users on Saturday shared video of Trudeau giving a speech in the rain, though the clip of the Canadian premier was from last year.
In August 2017, Trudeau flew to France to pay homage to the fallen soldiers who took part in the Dieppe raid.
Seventy-five years earlier, Nazi defenses pushed back an Allied assault on the port of Dieppe. Canadian soldiers bore the brunt of the casualties and losses.
In the clip, Trudeau is seen dropping his umbrella and allowing himself to be drenched by pouring rain.
‘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 and our shoes get wet, I think it’s all the more fitting that we remember on that day, in Dieppe, the rain wasn’t rain, it was bullets,’ the Canadian premier said.
But the speech was made last year – and not on Saturday as a response to Trump, as many on social media were led to believe.
Donald and first lady Melania Trump had planned to visit the memorial for American marines near the Belleau Wood battlefield on Saturday afternoon, however the event was cancelled at the last minute due to a storm that would have prevented them from helicoptering to the site that’s more than an hour’s drive from Paris
U.S. and French flags flutter at the graves of U.S. soldiers, most of them killed in the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood, at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in this file photo of he site near Chateau-Thierry, France
The site honors the 4th Marine Brigade of the United States Army’s 2nd Division and an attack it led on the Germans on June 6, 1918 that liberated the Bouresches
Donald Trump made amends with Emmanuel Macron at Élysée Palace after taking his host to task for recommending a European army to keep Russia at bay
Donald Trump looks on at French president Emmanuel Macron prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace
The US President and French President appear to talk over each other during a meeting in front of cameras
French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte Macron greets first lady Melania Trump on the steps of the Elysee Palace
Melania Trump arrived after her husband, dressed in a dark blue coat with black gloves with an up-do, in rainy weather
Trump is in Paris at the invitation of the nation’s president to attend events commemorating the end of World War One.
He met with Emmanuel Macron at Élysée Palace on Saturday morning for talks after taking his host to task on Twitter as he touched down in Paris over a ‘very insulting’ comment the French president made last week about the need for Europe to build an army as a check on the United States.
Trump told Macron that he and first lady Melania Trump had been ‘beautifully received’ at Orly airport as he commended him for his ‘graciousness’ as he recollected that they had become ‘very good friends’ who have discovered they have ‘much in common’ in the year and a half since his counterpart took office.
He explained that the U.S. would like to assist Europe with its security obligations, so long as the costs are reasonably distributed, and that’s why he’s pushed so aggressively for America’s allies to increase their contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
‘We want to help Europe, but it has to be fair. Right now, the burden sharing has been largely on the United States, as the president will say, and he understands that,’ Trump stated. ‘And he understands that the United States can only do so much, in fairness to the United States.’
Macron told him that he agrees. ‘But it’s unfair to have the European security today being assured just by the United States, and we need a much better burden sharing,’ he said. ‘That’s why I do believe that we need more European capacities, more European defense, in order to take this part of the burden.’
The two world leaders wave to the crowds outside the Elysee Palace on the eve of the commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day
President Donald Trump meets with French President Emmanuel Macron inside the Elysee Palace in Paris
Donald Trump shakes hands with Macron ahead of the international ceremony for the Centenary of the WWI Armistice of 11 November 1918
Macron welcomes President Trump to the Elysee Palace this morning .
Trump had begun the short trip to Paris for an event commemorating the end of the first major conflict between nations by laying into Macron for his European army proposal but had calmed down by the time they met Saturday for extended talks.
The U.S. president told Macron as they began a series of meetings that he appreciates France’s willingness to pay more for its defense.
‘We have much in common in many ways — perhaps more ways than people would understand,’ he assessed. ‘We’re very much similar in our views. And I appreciate what you’re saying about burden sharing.’
Macron began the session telling Trump in French that he was ‘very delighted’ to have him in Paris again and they would be discussing the ‘strategic capability of Europe’ and its desire to take on a larger role in NATO.
‘I do share President Trump’s views that we need a much better burden sharing within NATO, and that’s why I do believe that my proposals for European defense are totally consistent with that, because it means more Europe within NATO, more capacity, in order to take our part of the burden. And I think it’s very fair and it’s very important,’ he said.
Trump said at the meeting, ‘We want to absolutely be there. We want to help. We want to be a part of it. But different countries have to also help. That’s only fair. And I think the president — we’ve already discussed this — and the president and I very much agree on that.’
Donald Trump made amends with Emmanuel Macron at Élysée Palace after taking his host to task as he touched down in Paris for a ‘very insulting’ comment the French president made about the need for Europe to build an army to check the power of the United States military
At a meeting with Macron on Saturday morning, Trump told Macron that he and first lady Melania Trump had been ‘beautifully received’ at Orly airport as he commended him for his ‘graciousness’ as he recollected that they had become ‘very good friends’ who have ‘much in common’
ALL BETTER: President Trump was in better spirits on Saturday as he met with Emmanuel Macron at Elysee Palace in Paris
President Trump started his Saturday in better spirits, asking ‘is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war’ as he prepared to meet with Macron at Élysée.
Tweeting from the U.S. ambassador to France’s residence meters away from Élysée just before the meeting, Trump turned his attention to the commemorative event he was in Paris to attend, the centennial anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in WWI.
Trump misstated the facts of the war in the tweet. It was not the bloodiest of its kind. Among world wars, of which there have been two, the death toll for second world war, when the United States debuted the atomic bomb, was the highest.
World War I was the bloodiest war of its time, bringing about 8.5 million causalities on the battlefield. But then came WWII with its 15 million battlefield deaths.
The overall death toll of WWII, including civilians is disputed, but estimates range from 50 million to 80 million.
Trump’s attention over the past few days as he would normally be preparing for a foreign trip has been strained.
His political party took a beating in Tuesday’s elections and an expose revealed that he was aware of a payment his former lawyer made to a porn actress to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with the future president.
As the president landed in Paris he seemingly became aware for the first time of remarks Macron had made earlier in the week about the need for a European army.
‘Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!’ Trump responded.
Trump gave a thumbs up to press as he arrived, signaling that he was no longer angry at his friend
Trump misstated the facts of the war in the tweet. It was not the bloodiest of its kind. Among world wars, of which there have been two, the death toll for the Second World War, when the United States debuted the atomic bomb, was the highest
Macron made the remark during a six-day tour of France’s historic sites from the First World War. He said at a stop that the continent won’t be able to protect itself until it establishes a ‘true European army’ and stops relying so heavily on the United States.
‘We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,’ Macron reportedly said.
Trump had been tweeting all through his flight about perceived election drama back home. When he landed he claimed that Macron ‘suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia,’ even though the French leader actually made the comments several days prior on Nov. 6.
The American president and first lady Melania Trump are spending the weekend in France as part of a program for dignitaries celebrating the centennial anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in WWI that Russian President Vladimir Putin is also attending.
‘It should be a very beautiful period of time, the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I,’ Trump, who was apparently unaware of Macron’s remarks, said earlier on Friday before leaving the White House. ‘We have many countries — the leadership from many countries will be there, especially since they heard the United States will be there.’
The ceremony is Sunday. He and Melania attended a private luncheon at Élysée Palace on Saturday before a formal dinner for visiting leaders and their spouses at Musée D’Orsay.
Seconds after his plane was wheels down in Paris, Donald Trump attacked host Emmanuel Macron for suggesting that Europe needs to raise a standing army to protect itself from China, Russia and the United States
Trump touched down in France with first lady Melania Trump, staff and traveling press at 10:07 pm
Fewer than three minutes later, at 10:10 pm, he announced his arrival by starting the fight with Macron on Twitter
STEADY ON: First Lady Melania Trump’s hair whipped every which way as she descended the aircraft. She had to get some help deplaning from her husband
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet U.S. Ambassador to the French Republic and Principality of Monaco Jamie McCourt as they arrive at Orly Airport near Paris to attend commemoration ceremonies for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War
DARK SHADOW: The president’s tweet hinted at a dark mood as he embarked on a two-night stay in Paris
British Prime Minister Theresa May and France’s Macron, are seen standing next to each other at a memorial for British soldiers who died in WWI in Thiepval, France, on Friday
Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are on their way to France for a program celebrating the centennial anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in WWI
Trump had planned to have his own procession this weekend in Washington mimicking the military parade that France puts on in Paris every year on Bastille Day
The Trumps left Washington for Paris on Friday morning with plans to return late Sunday evening.
President Trump had planned to have his own procession this weekend in D.C., mimicking the military parade that France puts on in Paris every year on Bastille Day, until the Pentagon called off the show of American military might following a report that put the projected price of the vanity project at $92 million.
He decided as a result to attend the annual Armistice Day celebration at the Arc de Triomphe alongside other world leaders.
Trump was looking to lessen the blow of his party’s mid-term losses and bury bad headlines about the abrupt firing of his attorney general with the Paris trip. But he just couldn’t get into the trip abroad during the flight, when he was making allegations of voter fraud in Florida and Arizona from his cabin on Air Force One.
Upon landing in Paris, his attention jerked to the comments that Macron, who was finishing his tour of historical site and was not at the airport when Trump arrived, had made days before.
He launched the attack before ending his night at his temporary lodgings, the U.S. ambassador to France’s residence in Paris.
The White House is positioning the weekend trip as ‘a historic opportunity to honor the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for our freedom’ in the war that ended 100 years ago on Sunday.
‘The President’s participation in these events will also serve as the reminder of the important role that the United States has played and continues to play in ensuring peace and security in Europe,’ a senior official said.
Aside from a formal slate of events for world leaders in France, the president was scheduled to visit a visit two cemeteries: one for American soldiers at the Belleau Wood battlefield and the Suresnes American Cemetery. He’s also set to participate in a closed-door meet and greet with embassy staff.
While Europe knows Nov. 11 as Armistice Day, the date belongs to the veterans in America, where it is a holiday that is recognized by the federal government.
The White House says that Trump will deliver traditional Veterans Day remarks at Suresnes, as such. His administration’s efforts to improve vets’ health care is likely to come up.
Originally, Trump had planned to unwind with a leisurely golf trip to Ireland after he’d finished in France. He’s been moonlighting for nearly two months straight at campaign rallies as his party’s top surrogate in the evenings and on most weekends
Trump told reporters traveling with him on Monday that he expected the meeting with Putin was likely to take place in Buenos Aires
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump exit the Marine One helicopter heading to Air Force One prior to departing Washington for Paris
Trump’s interactions with foreign leaders in Paris are were being kept to a minimum, and his only scheduled sit-down was with Macron. The rest of his conversations with leaders will take part at Sunday’s ceremony and a Saturday night dinner.
White House officials said before the trip that trade was a topic that very likely ‘would come up’ in the conversation with Macron, in addition to Iran and Syria.
‘We’ll be discussing many things, not only military and aid, and NATO, and others, but we’ll also be discussing trade,’ Trump affirmed on Saturday. ‘And we’ve been discussing that for a little while. I think we’ve made a lot of progress. We’ll see if we can get it over the line, as they say. We’ll see what happens. But trade is very important.’
Trump said terrorism is another subject he wanted to address. ‘And we see what’s going on in the world, and it’s not a good picture. But we’ve made a lot of progress.
‘We’ve done things together that were quite bold, recently, six months ago. Very bold. And terrorism will be a big factor and a big part of our discussion today,’ he assessed.
Macron told reporters at the top of the bilat, ‘Obviously, we will discuss about a lot of topics: Iran, Syria, Yemen, Africa, trade, climate, and a lot of common global issues. And, obviously, we will discuss about our defense cooperation, which is very important.’
The United States reinstated sanctions on Iran for its nuclear activity this week as it demanded a new deal that prevents Tehran from developing ballistic missiles.
Businesses in Europe will suffer mightily if they continue to do business with Iran in violation of the punishing actions and have not received a waiver.
Syria, and the continued war and humanitarian crisis there, was also to be a subject. The U.S. wants Russian-allied Iran to move out its military and stop providing support to the Middle Eastern nation’s violent dictator.
Melania wore a checkered trench coat and Louboutin boots to board the aircraft
A White House staff member carries personal luggage and papers for Trump and Melania as a U.S. military aide carries briefcases containing the military launch codes known as the nuclear football to Air Force One
The Trump administration says that Russia habitually violates the outdated treaty that failed to imagine a world in which rising powers that were not party to the deal became nuclear capable
Trump and Macron participate in a grand welcome ceremony at the White House in April
A possible summit between Trump and Putin to discuss Syria and other subjects had been teased for Paris by both nations and was postponed to later this month in Argentina at the G20. They’ll have informal conversation in Paris at the Armistice Day events, but they will not sit down for talks in Paris four days after the election U.S. officials say they attempted to interfere in.
‘The only bilateral meeting that we have planned for the President will be with President Macron. We do not plan a separate bilateral meeting with President Putin or with other leaders in Paris,’ a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.
Trump told reporters traveling with him on Monday that he expected the meeting with Putin was likely to take place in Buenos Aires.
‘Getting along with Russia, China, and all of them would be a good thing; I’ve said it for a long time. So we’ll have plenty of meetings. But I’m not sure that we’ll have a meeting in Paris — probably not,’ the president stated.
They study a grave at the cemetery in France, which honours more than 72,000 men from the Armed Forces forces who died
Mrs May and Mr Macron smile as they stand together next to flag bearers at the First World War Thiepval Memorial today
Mrs May and Mr Macron lay a wreath at the Thiepval Memorial today to commemorate 100 year’s since the conflict’s end
French President Emmanuel Macron (left) and Theresa May walk through the WWI graves at the Thiepval Memorial in France
Trump will see Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Paris but they’ll wait until the G20 summit to hold a formal meeting in Argentina
In the remarks last week Macron acknowledged the tension between the two world powers and stressed that Europe must learn to defend ‘itself better alone, without just depending on the United States’ and it will not be able to do that that ‘unless we decide to have a true European army.’
His proposal acknowledged the reality of the ‘America First’ doctrine and unabashed nationalism that drove Trump to power two years ago and was reaffirmed in by large swaths of the country last Tuesday.
In his wake, Trump has left a power vacuum that allies of the United States worry that China and Russia will fill. He has in some ways blunted the countries’ rise with sanctions and tariffs for malign activities such as election meddling and intellectual property theft. But he has only acted out against them when it’s in the United States’ direct interests.
‘There is a growing concerns, given Trump’s rhetoric, that he sees the continent and particularly the EU as an adversary to be destabilized and undermined and not as America’s closest friend,’ Dalibor Rohac, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told DailyMail.com before the trip began.
‘His good personal relationship with Emmanuel Macron provides at least some hope that progress can be made.’
Did Trump pull out of Armistice tribute over Macron EU army jibe? President snubs war graves visit