President Donald Trump spent the weekend in France, skipping World War I commemoration events and apparently sulking in front of the television, instead of enjoying the grand military parade he’d once envisioned for himself.
The president was dazzled last year by the 2017 Bastille Day parade in Paris, and he notified defense officials he wanted a display like that for Veterans Day the following year, reported CNN.
But military officials balked at the nearly $100 million cost, and eventually persuaded the president he needed to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I’s end with other world leaders.
The solemn events he found in Paris were more stately than spectacular, and he sent a series of tweets grousing about vote recounts back in the U.S. and blaming massive California wildfires on forest management.
Trump remained at the U.S. ambassador’s residence Saturday after military and security officials determined cloud cover posed a safety hazard for the president’s Marine One helicopter, but the White House did not have a backup plan in place to get Trump to the Aisne-Marne American cemetery.
The White House declined to say how Trump spent those hours that opened up in his schedule, but the president tweeted that evening he’d had “some very productive meetings and calls for our country today.”
Trump arrived late, and alone, as other world leaders marched shoulder to shoulder down the Champs-Élysées.
The White House cited unspecified “security protocols” for Trump missing out on the event.
French president Emmanuel Macron took a pointed shot at Trump, who bragged ahead of the midterms that he was a “nationalist,” during the ceremony marking the armistice.
“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” Macron said. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying ‘our interests first; who cares about the others?’, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great, and what makes it essential — its moral values.”