Trump Labors to Defend Abandoning 2018 French Cemetery Visit
Once he had finished pressuring Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason to remove his mask while asking a question, Donald Trump launched into an approximately five-minute riff Monday afternoon on why he just couldn’t make it to the Aisne-Marne cemetery in November 2018 to honor fallen U.S. service members.
Trump repeated his claim that rain “unlike anything I’ve ever seen before” grounded the Marine One helicopters. Problem is: Trump’s description of the weather doesn’t jive with meteorological data, as is evident in French weather records that describe conditions as “light rain, broken clouds” that day.
Trump also declared he would have “ridden in the car two hours, three hours, four hours – whatever it took” to participate in the ceremony. But, he said, French authorities pleaded with him not to disrupt Paris traffic by taking a motorcade to the World War I commemoration.
That might make sense, except that French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other dignitaries actually did make the roughly 50-mile, 90-minute trip to the cemetery. So, too, did then White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford and several members of the White House staff to represent the United States. Trump stayed behind at his Paris hotel.
Trump said during his press conference today that he couldn’t make this trip because the rain was like “anything he’s ever seen before” pic.twitter.com/KkO2zVaFOZ
— AUAJSRMZS (@auajsrmzs) September 7, 2020
And then there’s this lie that Trump told about his aborted visit to the cemetery: he claims that he was so distraught that he couldn’t make the trek that he “called home” to wife Melania to tell her how badly he felt about not going to the ceremony. The fact is that Melania was there in Paris with her husband. As CNN reported: