Nicholas Soames, the grandson of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, criticized President Donald Trump for skipping a visit to a US military cemetery in Paris because of rain.
Soames, a member of Parliament and Cabinet official, took to Twitter to criticize Trump calling off the planned trip, which the White House said was canceled due to “logistical difficulties caused by the weather.”
“They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen,” Soames wrote.
The Independent reports that Trump was scheduled to participate in a wreath-laying and moment of silence at the Aisne-Marne American cemetery in Belleau, where more than 1,800 American troops died fighting German forces.
According to the report, heavy rain prevented him from arriving via helicopter.
The White House said Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford would visit the site instead.
Soames has repeatedly criticized Trump in the past.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Nicholas Soames is a Longtime Member of the British Parliament
Soames, 70, is a member of the Conservative Party who has served in Parliament since 1983, according to his official bio. He has represented Mid Sussex since 1997 after representing Crawley for 14 years. He was an opponent of Brexit.
He served as a junior Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and in 1994 was named Minister of State for the Armed Forces, serving until 1997. From 2003 to 2005, he served as the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence.
Soames, who was knighted in May 2014, is described as a “very busy backbencher” who serves as the President of the Conservative Middle East Council and the co-chair of the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration. He also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Game and Wildlife Conservation Group, serves as a Trustee of the Amber Foundation, and is a member of the Court of the University of Sussex.
Earlier this year, Soames was appointed to the UK Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He also briefly worked for US Senator Mark Hatfield in the late 1970s.
2. Nicholas Soames Has Been at The Center of Controversy
Soames, a close friend of Prince Charles, publicly criticized Princess Diana when the couple was estranged, accusing her of being in the “advanced stages of paranoia” when she accused Charles of being unfaithful. He issued an apology when Charles admitted his infidelity. He was later accused of threatening Diana that “accidents happen” in the months before she died, which he denied.
In a 2005 book, Soames was named the “most sexist” member of Parliament, The Guardian reported. Numerous female members of Parliament accused Soames of making vulgar comments and cupping gestures with his hands when female members spoke on the Parliament floor. In January of 2017, Soames made “woofing” noises at Scottish Member of Parliament Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.
Last year, Soames was criticized for meeting with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Members of Parliament criticized his meeting as “pandering to the vanity of a wily and ruthless dictator.”
3. Nicholas Soames Has Criticized Trump Before
Soames made headlines in the United States when he clapped back at a tweet by President Trump claiming that crime in the United Kingdom had risen by 13 percent “amid the spread of Radical Islamic terror.”
“Not good, we must keep America safe!” Trump wrote.
“#thenfixguncontrolyoudafttwerp,” Soames replied.
Soames wrote an op-ed on CNN.com earlier this year after Trump announced he would pull the US out of the Paris Climate Accord. The op-ed pointed out that conservatives both in the UK and US have been leaders on protecting the environment.
The evidence, therefore, is entirely against the world view of Donald Trump and entirely consistent with that of Theresa May.
My grandfather, Sir Winston Churchill, knew a thing or two about courage. President Trump is, I gather, a fan, having a bust of him in the Oval Office. Without Churchill’s determination, the Nazis would have won the war in Europe. But this is equally true of his respect for evidence. You cannot defeat an enemy of markedly superior forces unless you have better information and make better decisions.
Were he our Prime Minister today, it is pretty clear he would have said the same things on climate change as Theresa May has this week. Because, simply, she is right, and she is acting in the interests of her people.
4. Donald Trump Criticized for Skipping World War I Memorial
Soames was far from the only one to criticize Trump scrapping a trip to pay respects to soldiers who died in World War I because of inclement weather. Trump was supposed to attend the event with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, both of whom did attend the ceremony. Trump is currently in France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
“I am in Paris getting ready to celebrate the end of World War One. Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?” Trump tweeted prior to skipping the trip to the cemetery.
Reuters Paris bureau chief Luke Baker suggested that the president could have easily flown through the rain.
Former Obama aide Ben Rhodes added, “I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years. There is always a rain option. Always.”
5. Donald Trump Has Been Slammed for Lack of Troops Visit, Draft Record
British papers could not avoid mentioning in their reports of the skipped trip that Trump received five military deferments during the Vietnam War, four for academic reasons and one because of bone spurs in his foot. During the campaign, Trump said the issue was “temporary” and “minor”, adding that “over a period of time, it healed up”.
He also came under fire for insulting then-Sen. John McCain, who was captured during the Vietnam War and imprisoned and tortured for years at a POW camp. “I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said.
As president, Trump has yet to visit troops in a war zone despite frequently touting how good he is “on the military.” When asked about the lack of a visit to Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria in an interview with The Associated Press, Trump replied, ““Well, I will do that at some point, but I don’t think it’s overly necessary. I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here.”
“I’m doing a lot of things. I’m doing a lot of things. But it’s something I’d do. And do gladly. Nobody has been better at the military. Hey, I just got them a pay raise. I haven’t had a pay raise in 11 years. I just got them a substantial pay raise. ‘They’ meaning our military people,” he added, wrongly. The military is required by law to get a pay raise each year. The raises in President Obama’s first two years were larger than the ones given in Trump’s first two years.