French army mocks Trump for skipping visit to First World War cemetery in Paris due to rain

‘There’s rain but it’s not serious,’ army tweets alongside photo of soldier crawling on ground

Emma Snaith
Monday 12 November 2018 15:47
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President Trump jokes about getting rained on during WW1 speech

The French army has joined the outpouring of criticism over Donald Trump’s decision to cancel a visit to a First World War cemetery because of “poor weather”, after posting a tweet mocking the president.

A post on the army’s official Twitter account shows a soldier crawling on the ground in the rain, accompanied by the caption: “#MondayMotivation. There’s rain but it’s not serious. We’re staying motivated.”

In response to the tweet, many users added to the ridicule of Mr Trump.

“Our courageux président is ready for your obstacle...as soon as it stops raining!” one person wrote.

“Spectacular shade,” another added.

The ridicule comes after French President Emmanuel Macron called for the creation of a “true European army” to defend itself against threats ranging from Vladimir Putin to the US under Mr Trump.

The American president was scheduled to lay a wreath and observe a moment of silence on Saturday at Aisne-Marne American cemetery in the village of Belleau, but called off his appearance due to rain.

The White House said poor visibility had grounded the presidential helicopter and Mr Trump didn’t want to drive to the cemetery because it would have disrupted traffic in Paris.

The US president’s decision sparked condemnation in both Europe and the US.

Nicholas Soames, a grandson of Sir Winston Churchill and Conservative MP for Mid Sussex, led the criticism, branding the president a “pathetic inadequate”.

“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,” he wrote on Twitter.

David Frum, a former speech writer for President George W Bush, tweeted that Mr Trump had “shirked on grounds of weather the job of honouring those who fought and died in rain and mud”.

Others on social media compared Mr Trump with his predecessor’s efforts in the rain, posting images of Mr Obama speaking during downpours.

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser under Barack Obama when he was president, said the White House’s explanation for the cancelled visit made little sense.

“I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years,” he wrote on Twitter. “There is always a rain option. Always.”

A handful of senior administration officials, including White House chief of staff John Kelly, attended Belleau without Mr Trump.

Instead, the president appeared at a different ceremony on Sunday at Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in Paris where more than 1,500 Americans who died in the war are buried.

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