President Donald Trump has vehemently denied reports that he skipped a 2018 visit to a World War I memorial in France because he was concerned about his hair and considered the cemetery “filled with losers,” as the Atlantic first reported.
Trump told reporters yesterday that he “called home” to Melania Trump at the time and told her how upset he was for not being able to visit the cemetery. At the time, the White House said he was unable to attend and had to cancel the visit because of bad weather.
Trump claims he “called home, I spoke to my wife and I said ‘I hate this. I came here to go to that ceremony.’ And to the one that was the following day which I did go to. I said I feel terribly. And that was the end of it.”
Facts First: Melania Trump was on the same trip with the President and was scheduled to attend the cemetery visit. She was not in the US.
A readout from the first lady’s office at the time said that “Due to inclement weather, the First Lady and President were unable to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Belleau, France.”
That evening, Trump and Melania went to a dinner together hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
When the decision was made to cancel the visit to the Aisne-Marne cemetery, no aides cautioned Trump that it would play poorly, which he later blamed on Gen. John Kelly and one of Kelly’s top aides Zach Fuentes. One person familiar with the postmortem discussions said Trump accused them of “f*cking him” by not predicting the inevitable fallout.
Still, aides said at the time that Trump did not push to attend the ceremony after being told he could not fly there in the helicopter and that traveling by motorcade would prove difficult logistically.
Kelly later replaced Trump on the visit to the cemetery.
Instead of the visit, Trump spent hours on that Saturday afternoon holed up watching television inside the US ambassador’s residence, people familiar with the situation said.
CNN’s Kate Bennett contributed to this article.