President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-White House counsel interviewed Whitaker about joining Trump’s legal team: report Flake slams Trump for doubting Arizona vote count: No evidence of ‘electoral corruption’ Comey talked about sensitive FBI matters on personal email: report MORE faced criticism on Saturday while traveling in France after the White House canceled his trip to a cemetery in the northern part of the country due to bad weather.
The president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by the Counter Extremism Project — Trump threatens to pull more press credentials | Said he hasn’t spoken to Whitaker | Thousand Oaks victims named | Man who survived Las Vegas shooting killed in Thousand Oaks | 18-year CNN’s Acosta in Paris to cover Trump visit The Hill’s Morning Report — Trump heads to Paris as attorney general controversy intensifies MORE were scheduled to take a helicopter to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau, northern France, about 50 miles from where they are staying in Paris.
But the White House announced in a statement Saturday morning that the trip had been canceled “due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather.”
White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford planned to visit the cemetery instead, the White House said.
Critics of the president were quick to go after his scrapped visit to the World War I memorial, where more than 2,000 soldiers are buried.
“It’s not even 60 miles from central Paris to the monument. If the weather is too wet & windy for helicopters, a presidential motorcade could drive the distance in an hour,” David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote in a Twitter thread.
“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.”
Ben Rhodes, a political adviser and top speechwriter in the Obama administration, also criticized the White House for not having a contingency in place for bad weather.
“I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years. There is always a rain option. Always,” he tweeted.
Another former Obama White House staffer, Cody Keenan, also swiped at Trump while tweeting a picture of former President Obama giving a Memorial Day address in the rain while holding an umbrella.
Others criticizing Trump’s canceled visit Saturday to the war cemetery included Nicholas Soames, a British member of Parliament and grandson of Winston Churchill.
“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,” Soames tweeted.
The criticism came as several foreign dignitaries were spotted taking part in other ceremonies outside Paris on Saturday, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump is in France for the weekend to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I. More than 115,000 Americans died in World War I.
The president’s trip had already become contentious, with Trump knocking what he deemed an “insulting” comment from the French leader.
Moments after touching down in Paris on Friday night, Trump took to Twitter to rip Macron’s call for a “true European army” to combat threats from Russia, China and the U.S.
“President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!” Trump tweeted.
Trump and Macron met on Saturday to discuss defense spending, with Trump voicing displeasure with what he dubbed inadequate funding for NATO from European allies.
“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 said, referring to Macron. “And he understands that the United States can only do so much, in fairness to the United States.”
Trump is scheduled to attend a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe with more than 100 world leaders on Sunday.