Trump cancels memorial visit to US cemetery in France due to rain
PARIS: US President Donald Trump could not attend a commemoration in France for US soldiers and marines killed during World War I on Saturday because of the rain, the White House said.
Mr Trump was scheduled to pay tribute at a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, about 85km east of Paris, with his wife. But a light, steady rain and a low cloud ceiling prevented his helicopter from going to the site.
"(Their attendance) has been cancelled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather," the White House said in a statement, adding that a delegation lead by Chief of Staff John Kelly went instead.
The decision prompted a rash of criticism on Twitter, with Sir Nicholas Soames, a British MP who is a grandson of former prime minister Winston Churchill, saying Mr Trump was dishonouring US servicemen.
"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," Mr Soames wrote on Twitter.
White House officials also cited security concerns in hastily arranging a motorcade. Similar concerns prevented Mr Trump from reaching the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea a year ago when foggy weather prevented his helicopter from landing.
Mr Ben Rhodes, who was deputy national security adviser for strategic communications under former president Barack Obama, said the excuse did not stand up.
"I helped plan all of President Obama's trips for eight years,"he wrote on Twitter.
"There is always a rain option. Always." - REUTERS