New documents prove that the Navy really did cancel President Donald Trump’s helicopter flight to a World War I memorial in France in November 2018.
BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold shared documents he requested from the Navy via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
“Remember last November when WH said Trump could not attend WW1 memorial at US cemetery in France due to rain?” he asked on Twitter. “Well, his transport really was canceled by the Navy due to rain.”
NEW via my #FOIA from Dept of the Navy.
Remember last November when WH said Trump could not attend WW1 memorial at US cemetery in France due to rain?
Well, his transport really was canceled by the Navy due to rain.
— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) May 28, 2019
The documents note decreased visibility for the planned trip due to the rain.
At the time, critics smeared the president for failing to attend the ceremony due to his canceled helicopter flight and the rain.
“It was an embarrassment, and he let down our veterans, he let down our country,” former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel grumbled to CNN after news outlets made the canceled trip the highlight of their coverage.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also criticized the president on CNN.
“His failure to go because of the rain was an insult, not only to World War I veterans but to all veterans,” he said.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell accused Trump of canceling the trip because he had a “bad hair day.”
When Trump flies to France and then drops out of the ceremony at a military cemetery because of “rain” we must remember he’s a liar.
It could just be that he’s having a bad hair day that could be made much worse by the weather.
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) November 10, 2018
In response to critics at the time, Trump said that a presidential motorcade trip to the location was logistically prohibitive.
By the way, when the helicopter couldn’t fly to the first cemetery in France because of almost zero visibility, I suggested driving. Secret Service said NO, too far from airport & big Paris shutdown. Speech next day at American Cemetery in pouring rain! Little reported-Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at the time that Trump did not want to disrupt the city with a last-minute, 2.5-hour motorcade.
“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” Sanders said.