President Trump blames Secret Service for canceled visit to WWI cemetery in France after criticism
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump placed full blame for his canceled visit to a World War I cemetery in France over the weekend on the Secret Service, claiming that he suggested driving after it was deemed unsafe to take the presidential chopper during rainy weather but that the Secret Service said “NO.”
While President Trump now says the Secret Service was behind the decision not to make a more than two-hour drive to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, press secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday that the president did not want to do the drive because of the disruption it would have caused to the people of Paris.
“Yesterday, because of near-zero visibility, Marine One was unable to fly, as had been planned. A car ride of two and a half hours, each way, would have required closures to substantial portions of the Paris roadways for the President’s motorcade, on short notice. President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” Sanders said in a statement.
Chief of staff John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford visited the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in President Trump’s place.
While the president did not make it to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial on Saturday, he did deliver remarks honoring America’s World War I fallen the following day at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial.
During the remarks on Sunday, the president offered a shoutout to World War II in attendance, and at one point acknowledged one sitting under a shelter while he spoke during a light rain at the memorial site.
“You look so comfortable up there under cover while we are getting drenched,” Trump joked during his speech at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial, a military cemetery in Suresnes, France where over 1,500 American soldiers were buried after World War I. “You’re very smart people.”
In addition to his defense of the canceled cemetery visit, President Trump issued a series of tweets critical of French President Emanuel Macron, who has previously been seen as President Trump’s closest personal friend on the global stage.
Bashing the French president’s approval ratings on Tuesday, the president tweeted “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!”
The president’s attacks on Macron come after the French president offered a veiled rebuke of President Trump during a speech over the weekend, declaring that nationalism is the opposite of patriotism. President Trump, meanwhile, has publicly labeled himself a nationalist and embraced the title.
“By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!” Trump says in a tweet, apparently firing back at Macron.
The president even weighed in on wine, one of France’s most-prized industries, to complain that France does not engage in fair trade practices with the U.S. over the alcoholic beverage. President Trump does not drink alcohol himself, though his family business does own a winery.
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