Stung by criticism for not attending an event honoring U.S. military dead, the White House says President Donald Trump didn’t want to disrupt Paris roadways for a last-minute motorcade to a cemetery in northern France.
Trump had been scheduled to lay a wreath and observe a moment of silence Saturday at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, located adjacent to Belleau Wood and about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of Paris. The White House cited weather conditions that grounded the president’s helicopter for the cancellation.
In the wake of criticism that Trump didn’t travel by car to the event, France24 reports that the press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement Sunday that noted the weather and “near-zero visibility” as well as concerns that a motorcade on short notice would have required closing substantial portions of area roadways.
“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” Sanders said. She also said the trip to Aisne-Marne was 2½ hours each way by car.