Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to a US military cemetery in France, claiming the weather is too bad.
The US President called off his visit to the Belleau Wood battlefield and cemetery east of Paris because of ‘scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather,’ the White House said.
He is now free to relax in the French capital this afternoon and has instead dispatched another member of his team to pay tribute. Insiders within the French government claim the excuse doesn’t wash and he could have easily made the trip
Trump is in France to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Coincidentally, officials in November 1918 noted the Armistice came on a day where there was ‘chilled drizzle – the usual.’ His visit got off to a rocky start when he offended his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
The US leader had taken to Twitter moments after getting off the plane in the French capital to say Macron’s plan for a European military was ‘insulting.’ The pair then came face to face and there was no hiding the awkward coolness in their meeting.
Macron seemed eager to keep up a show of camaraderie, and when asked about the tweet, he reached out to pat Trump on the thigh. Trump was cordial – but sat stony-faced during the thigh tap. This was at odds with previous engagements between the two men, which have been much warmer. Indeed Macron has made much of the fact he is one European leader who has a good relationship with Trump.
After his meeting with Macron, Trump and wife Melania were scheduled to head to the battlefield of Belleau Wood, 55 miles northeast of Paris. It was here that US troops had their breakthrough battle by stopping a German push for Paris shortly after entering the war in 1917.
The battle of Belleau Wood proved America’s mettle to allies and foes alike, and by the time the war ended U.S. forces were at least an equal to any of the other major armies, which were exhausted and depleted.
The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at Belleau contains the graves of 2,289 servicemen and commemorates 1,060 others who fell at Bealleau Wood. However the Trumps’ trip was abandoned with the White House announcing that a US delegation led by Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford would visit the cemetery instead.
Officially, the helicopter – Marine I – was considered ill-equipped to make the short journey because of the clouds and drizzle. This has meant that instead, the Trumps have had some down time in Paris.
Elysee Palace sources in France confirmed that the Trumps had been due to travel on Marine 1 after arriving by plane in the French capital on Friday night. One insider said that the idea that Marine 1 could not fly in wet weather was ‘preposterous’. He said: ‘The Trumps could easily have got to Beaulleau by road too – with a limousine escort it would take less than an hour.’
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