Crit­ics pile on af­ter Trump can­cels visit to U.S. mil­i­tary ceme­tery out­side Paris

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - World - BY DAVID NAKA­MURA, SE­UNG MIN KIM AND JAMES MCAU­LEY The Wash­ing­ton Post

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump flew 3,800 miles to this French cap­i­tal city for cer­e­monies to honor the mil­i­tary sac­ri­fice in World War I, hop­ing to take part in the kind of pow­er­ful ode to the brav­ery of the armed forces that he was un­able to hold in Wash­ing­ton.

But on his first full day here, it rained on his sub­sti­tute pa­rade week­end.

Early Satur­day, the White House an­nounced Trump and the first lady had scut­tled plans, due to bad weather, for their first stop in a se­ries of week­end re­mem­brance ac­tiv­i­ties - a visit to the solemn Aisne Marne Amer­i­can Ceme­tery, mark­ing the fe­ro­cious Bat­tle of Bel­leau Wood.

It was not com­pletely clear why the Trumps were un­able to at­tend. The ceme­tery is 50 miles from Paris. So per­haps the pres­i­dent was plan­ning to travel on Ma­rine One, which is oc­ca­sion­ally grounded by the Se­cret Ser­vice.

But the sight of dig­ni­taries ar­riv­ing at other sites out­side Paris, in­clud­ing Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron, led some for­eign pol­icy an­a­lysts to spec­u­late that the U.S. com­man­der in chief just wasn’t up for it.

“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,” David Frum, who served as a speech­writer to for­mer pres­i­dent George W. Bush, wrote in a se­ries of tweets.

The White House said Chief of Staff John Kelly and Joint Chiefs Chair­man Joseph Dun­ford would at­tend the cer­e­mony in the Trumps’ ab­sence; Frum said Trump could have tried to scram­ble a mo­tor­cade to keep his sched­ule.

The ceme­tery has 2,288 gravesites hon­or­ing those who died, in­clud­ing many Amer­i­cans. The names of 1,060 more Amer­i­cans who went miss­ing and whose bod­ies were not re­cov­ered are en­graved on the walls of the site.

JACQUELYN MARTIN AP

It was rain­ing when Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump met French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron af­ter ar­riv­ing at the El­y­see Palace in Paris on Satur­day.

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