President Donald Trump is in France this weekend, and his visit is already generating plenty of buzzworthy headlines. On Saturday, he canceled a trip to visit a United States military cemetery near Paris because of the weather, and he is receiving a great deal of backlash over the decision. At the same time, other world leaders are showing signs of unity without Trump, which is generating a lot of discussion.
Bloomberg details that Trump was slated to visit the Belleau Wood cemetery and battlefield on Saturday, but the White House said the helicopter trip to the site was canceled due to “scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather.” While Trump stayed back in Paris, Chief of Staff General John Kelly was slated to attend along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford.
The site, which is located about 50 miles outside of Paris, is where 1,800 American soldiers died during World War I. The visit was one of several events slated to take place this weekend while Trump is in France to commemorate Armistice Day, the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.
By canceling the event and staying in Paris, the president reportedly was left with about six hours of free time before heading to a dinner Saturday evening, that is being hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump and Macron did meet earlier during the day and shared a handshake that has already gone viral, as reported by Inqsuitir.
— FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) November 10, 2018
As Trump stayed back in Paris on his own, Sky News details that Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the site in a railway carriage where the Armistice was signed. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also visiting France this weekend, and he was spotted visiting graves of Canadian soldiers who died in the war during the same part of the day.
Trump’s decision to cancel his visit to the cemetery did not go unnoticed. David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, posted a lengthy rant on Twitter about the decision. In part, he said that the presidential motorcade easily could have driven to the site if the weather prevented the helicopter from traveling the route.
In addition, Frum said that this visit was already a “climb-down from what any normally patriotic president would wish to do” for this event. He said there was no need for this trip to begin with, and he was stunned by Trump’s 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.”
California Rep. Eric Swalwell was one of many others who took to Twitter to share their thoughts on Trump’s cancellation. He was also stunned that the president canceled the trip due to rain, given what the location signifies and what the soldiers who fought there endured.
President Donald Trump is still slated to attend other scheduled events during the rest of his trip to France. It remains to be seen if Trump can counter the backlash he has received for canceling the trip to the cemetery, especially when other world leaders did not cancel due to the weather.
To win World War I, brave Americans fought through snow, mud, & sand with bombs dropping from above, landmines in the ground below, & bullets flying at their faces. The least of their worries was rain. It’s an embarrassment @realDonaldTrump can’t find his way to honor our fallen.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) November 10, 2018
Today, I joined our delegation of Canadian veterans at Vimy Ridge — to thank them for their service and to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of our freedom.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 10, 2018