The White House and President Trump took some heat on Saturday after it was announced that he would not make a previously scheduled visit to a cemetery in France for Americans killed in World War I due to inclement weather.
Trump arrived in France on Friday to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, along with first lady Melania Trump. They’d planned to visit Ainse-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France. The president was expected to lay a wreath and observe a moment of silence.
The first couple was supposed to travel to the site via helicopter, according to The Hill. But the White House released a statement, saying the visit had been called off.
“The President and First Lady’s trip to Ainse-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial has been canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather,” the statement said. “An American delegation led by Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford will attend on their behalf.”
The decision drew negative reactions from two officials who served in previous administrations.
David Frum, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, took to Twitter to slam the move, insisting that other transportation accommodations could’ve been made in case of poor weather.
“It’s not even 60 miles from central Paris to the monument. If the weather is too wet & windy for helicopters, a presidential motorcade could drive the distance in an hour,” Frum tweeted. “On site, presidential advance could easily erect a tent to protect the dignitaries (and the the presidential hair-do) from inclement weather.”
A later tweet said, “Two words: contingency plans. Previous White Houses made them.”
He also criticized the president’s now-canceled visit, calling it “a climb-down from what any normally patriotic president would wish to do.”
“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,” Frum tweeted.
Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, also disapproved of the cancellation.
Reacting to a tweet from Frum, Rhodes wrote: “I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years. There is always a rain option. Always.”
Rhodes also reacted to a tweet from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying “This is what an actual leader does.”
The Canadian leader shared pictures on Twitter of his visit to Vimy Ridge, a battlefield in northern France.
A follow-up tweet from Rhodes said the change of plans was “a remarkable insult” to veterans and allies alike “who lost so many millions of people for Trump to fly all the way to Europe to sit in a hotel room.”
Nicholas Soames – a Parliament member in the United Kingdom and the grandson of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, according to The Hill – also tweeted criticism of the president.
“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 #hesnotfittorepresenthisgreatcountry,” the tweet said.
The cemetery visit was supposed to occur after Trump met with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier in the day.
Fox News’ Matt Leach, Adam Shaw, Lukas Mikelionis and The Associated Press contributed to this report.