The French almost certainly trolled President Donald Trump just days after he canceled a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery to commemorate U.S. soldiers who perished in World War I. Trump's team claimed that inclement weather scuttled the president's plans.
“There is rain, but it does not matter,” the French army wrote on Twitter. "We remain motivated.” Accompanying the post: A photo of a rain-soaked recruit crawling through an obstacle course.
The French army's slight dig at the U.S. president quickly took social media by storm.
The White House canceled Trump's visit after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders determined that weather conditions provided "near-zero visibility," complicating matters for the president, who would have arrived aboard the presidential helicopter Marine One.
“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” Sanders said.
Trump was further criticized for not joining other world leaders who arrived by car.
"The cemetery is 50 miles northeast of Paris, and it was not clear why alternative routes — commonly planned for high-profile events — were not used in this case," The Washington Post's Alex Horton noted.
As Ben Rhodes, who served as former President Barack Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, observed: "There is always a rain option. Always."
The president's visit to France has been no less contentious despite his absence at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron, in what was seen as a direct rebuke of Trump, denounced nationalism.
"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values," Macron said.
Trump referred to himself as a “nationalist” last month during a rally in which he denigrated Representative Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), who challenged Republican incumbent Ted Cruz’s Senate seat.
“You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist,” Trump said. “And I say, ‘Really? We’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist. OK? I’m a nationalist.”
The term “nationalist” has become associated with the alt-right movement, which predominantly supports the president’s agenda and has regularly challenged for espousing white supremacist ideology.
Trump has defended those comments, saying it was meant as a contrast to “globalists” who place international interests before those of the United States.
The president further came under fire after sharing a rather warm greeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The two men, whom U.S. intelligence agencies believe together conspired to subvert the 2016 presidential election, arrived separately from the other heads of state who took part in the commemorations, although Trump was already in attendance when Putin arrived and was caught beaming at the sight of the Russian president.
Trump and Putin were going to have a one-on-one meeting in Paris, but those plans were scuttled amid Macron’s concerns that the meeting would overshadow the Armistice Day commemorations. Putin later told Russian state media that he did find time to talk to Trump in Paris.