Monday, 10 December, 2018

White House says Trump motorcade to WWI cemetery would have disrupted traffic

The US flag flutters at half mast prior to a ceremony at the Aisne Marne American cemetery and memorial in Belleau FRANCOIS MORI APThe US flag flutters at half mast prior to a ceremony at the Aisne Marne American cemetery and memorial in Belleau
Ellis Copeland | 14 November, 2018, 07:33

White House officials said the weather was too poor for Trump to travel to the cemetery by helicopter.

Not among them: Trump, a day after he riled up his critics by canceling a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France, the final resting place of almost 2,000 USA soldiers killed in the World War I battle of Belleau Wood.

Instead, Trump spent much of the day following a meeting and lunch with French President Macron at the USA ambassador's residence, where he was staying during events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Trump visited a different cemetery near Paris on Sunday, during which the president raved about the "bloodiest conflicts in human history" while recognizing several World War I vets who were in attendance.

General John Kelly, White House Chief of staff, and General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended the Aisle-Marne cemetery in the President's place.

The US leader was heavily criticised for cancelling a trip to Belleau Wood battlefield in northern France on Saturday due to the rain, with some critics accusing him of disrespecting America's war dead.

US President Donald Trump faced criticism both offline and online after a planned visit to a cemetery for Americans killed in World War I was cancelled due to bad weather.

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Trump went to a different U.S. military cemetery on the outskirts of Paris a day later, Sunday, AP said. Trump was in Paris for events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Conservative MP and grandson of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill Nicholas Soames called Mr Trump "pathetic" and "inadequate".

Macron also seemed to give a subtle rebuke to Trump in a speech he gave at the ceremony in which he described the difference between patriotism and nationalism.

Also not among them: Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also arrived solo. Meanwhile, the U.S. leader stressed again that Europe should do more on defense burden sharing.

Twitter users were quick to interpret the official French army tweet as a slight directed at Trump.

Mr Macron defended his viewpoint, saying he shares Mr Trump's insistence that there be more burden sharing.

The cemetery has a total number of 2,288 gravesites honouring those who died in the WW1, including many Americans soldiers and mariners.

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