A leader with a legacy of criticisms staining his presidential career has been accused of flaunting a significant duty in his role due to warnings of a poor forecast. Trump failed to appear at the memorial cemetery where 1,800 American soldiers killed in action during the World Wars were being honoured. The president remained at his hotel room whilst other world leaders such as the chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel criticised his absence. Winston Churchill’s grandson Sir Arthur Nicholas Soames (MP) described Trump as ‘pathetic’ and ‘inadequate’ for failing to make an appearance, in a way his grandfather would have saluted.
Taking a rain check on the service has also led to the angry jabbing at keypads from a torrent of Twitter opposition. In response to Trump’s decision, Twitter was showered in photos of the former US President Barrack Obama attending events and speeches in the rain, drenched from head to foot but defiant in his reason for being there. As President Trump failed to deliver the same service, particularly after the poor mid-term election results for the Republicans, his approval on the world stage continues to decay.
Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes noted that ‘there is always a backup plan for adverse weather conditions, always’. Yet Trump opted to remain in his hotel room despite his Chief of Staff John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford choosing to attend the ceremony, which was not interrupted by weather in the end.
The disappointment of this decision by the president is arguably due to the fact that the man who occupies one of the most powerful and influential positions around the globe will deter from his official duties for fear of rain. This is the opposite of what we expect from such a role, and it casts a sullen reality that a man in such a position of power will opt for the warmth of a hotel room rather than showing the same grit as his forebears against the rain and the cold.