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11th Nov 2018

Criticism of Trump’s WW1 cemetery no-show intensifies

'Rain did not prevent our brave heroes from doing their job'

Oli Dugmore

‘Rain did not prevent our brave heroes from doing their job’

Donald Trump did not attend a WW1 cemetery visit because of the rain.

Bad weather grounded the presidential helicopter and security concerns about a quickly organised motorcade for the two-hour drive out of Paris meant other senior officials went on the visit.

Criticism of the president of the United States has intensified since, with British MPs joining the clamour.

Trump is currently in France for the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

After meeting Emmanuel Macron, Trump was due to travel to travel to Belleau Wood, a battlefield where US troops made a key breakthrough against a German advance trying to enter Paris.

It was this battle which is said to have proven to Allied troops that the Americans – fresh to the war efforts after entering it in 1917 – were capable of fighting alongside them.

The battle has become a key piece of lore for the US Marine Corps, and is presumably something that a US president would be keen to commemorate with a visit. Unless it is raining of course, in which case it’s a real no-go.

That was the case for Trump, who rather than visit the battlefield, opted instead to send Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford in his stead, citing “scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather.”

British MPs Tobias Ellwood, himself a former captain in the British Army, and Nicholas Soames criticised the president’s decision to not attend the memorial.

Ellwood said he was thankful that the rain “did not prevent our brave heroes from doing their job.”

People were quick to draw the parallel to Barack Obama’s memorial day plans, including one of his former staffers who said there was “always a rain option.”

Macron tweeted a picture of himself with German chancellor Angela Merkel with a single word – “united.”