Donald Trump and wife Melania arrived home from their Paris trip tonight after he
was heavily criticized for missing a Marine Corp commemoration due to rain.
However the President did brave Parisian showers earlier today to attend another solemn ceremony honoring veterans of what was called the Great War.
His visit to the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in suburban Paris ended a diplomatically difficult visit to France, during which Trump endured barbed criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders.
Tonight Trump tweeted a video of the commemorative events with the caption: ‘Exactly 100 years ago today, on November 11th, 1918, World War I came to an end. We are gathered together, at this hallowed resting place, to pay tribute to the brave Americans who gave their last breath in that mighty struggle…’
Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive back at the White House after participating in events marking the 100th Anniversary of the World War I
The couple appeared in good spirits as they arrived at the White House tonight and thankfully there was no rain which had apparently forced POTUS to drop out of a commemorative event
The couple appeared in good spirits as they arrived back at the White House, with Melania sporting the same stylish grey cashmere coat she had worn earlier when meeting the wives and partners of other political leaders.
‘We are gathered together at this hallowed resting place to pay tribute to the brave Americans who gave their last breath in that mighty struggle,’ Trump said at the US cemetery.
More than 1,500 Americans who died in what Trump called a ‘horrible, horrible’ war are buried there.
Before he spoke, the President stood alone amid the cemetery’s white crosses, protecting himself against the drizzle with a black umbrella.
‘It is our duty to preserve the civilization they defended and to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago,’ he said.
The veterans had been offered limited space underneath the monument, out of the rain, to watch the speech from.
‘You look so comfortable up there, under shelter, as we’re getting drenched. You’re very smart people,’ he said to laughter. ‘America is forever in debt, and we are forever in your debt. And we really appreciate you being here.’
Attendees of the president’s speech, including members of Congress in Paris for the event, huddled together under umbrellas and ponchos.
Trump stands in front of headstones during an American Commemoration Ceremony in Paris
Donald Trump looks on as German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron – who get along famously – appear deep in conversation
Lightening the mood, he told six veterans he said were in attendance: ‘You look like you’re in really good shape, all of you. I hope I look like that someday. You look great.’
He attended an internationally broadcast gathering for world leaders at the Arc de Triomphe and lunched with his counterparts earlier on Sunday before driving a half-hour outside of the city to Suresnes for the invite-only ceremony commemorating the end of WWI.
The speech ended an awkward chapter in his relationship with the host nation’s president that began when Trump blasted him on Twitter as he arrived at Orly airport late on Friday.
Trump pays his respects at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in Paris
Trump’s feud with Emmanuel Macron boiled on Sunday as the French leader forcefully denounced nations ‘looking after their own interests’ and decried nationalist policies like the ones Donald Trump has embraced.
Macron specifically referred to the ‘selfishness of nations only looking after their own interests’ in remarks at an Armistice Day event in Paris that Trump and other world leaders attended.
‘Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. 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 gives it grace.
A man holds up a placard in front of a large inflatable blimp depicting President Donald Trump in Republique square in Paris
‘And what is essential— its moral values,’ he said in an English-language translation of the speech he delivered with Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting in the front row.
Trump sat mostly stone-faced with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others as Macron spoke.
For reasons apparently related to the weather Trump on Saturday canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, about 55 miles east of Paris.
Trump drew wide criticism for skipping the ceremony at the site of one of the greatest battles ever fought by Marines.
White House officials said the weather was too poor for Trump to travel to the cemetery by helicopter.
In response to critics who said Trump could have made the trip by car, the White House issued a statement Sunday night saying Trump did not want to disrupt traffic around Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech next to Trump before the official lunch following the commemoration ceremony for the Centenary of the WWI Armistice
On Sunday morning a topless feminist activist from the group Femen made it close to Trump’s motorcade on the Champs-Élysées. The protester sported the words ‘fake peacemaker’ across her torso.
She was one of many protesters who criticized Trump’s attendance of an event about peace.
Despite the rain, roughly 1,500 people attended a rally against Trump at a Paris plaza several miles away, according to police. They rallied under a banner that said ‘Trump War’ and slammed policies such as US help for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.