Trump Trip to Pay Tribute to U.S. Fallen Canceled in French Rain

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s visit to the Belleau Wood cemetery and battlefield was canceled Saturday, as rainy weather across France prevented the planned helicopter excursion to mark one of the deadliest World War I battle sites.

“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 White House said in a statement. “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 site -- where some 1,800 American soldiers were killed over three weeks of battle during World War I -- is some 55 miles from downtown Paris, making a drive logistically challenging for the president’s large motorcade.

Trump is in Paris to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of the “Great War.” He’s planning to attend an Armistice Day memorial event Sunday at the Arc de Triomphe with other world leaders, and also speak at a Veterans Day ceremony at Suresnes cemetery before returning to Washington.

“Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?” Trump tweeted earlier Saturday.

Belleau Wood has particular resonance for Marines like Kelly, a retired general. The battle was seen as a turning point in the war and helped establish the prestige of the Marine Corps.

The cancellation of the trip to Belleau Wood leaves the president with around six hours of down time before he attends a dinner hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump and Macron met earlier Saturday, where discussions included Trump’s concerns over Macron’s call for a European Army as well as trade and the Iran nuclear accord.

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