(CNN) — 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 Thursday that he “called home” to Melania Trump at the time and told her how upset he was about not being able to visit the cemetery. At the time, the White House said he had to cancel the visit because of bad weather.
Trump said: “I 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.”
But Melania Trump was not at “home” — she was on the trip with the president and was also scheduled to visit the cemetery.
A readout from the first lady’s office at the time said, “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 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 discussions in the aftermath said Trump accused them of “f*cking him” by not predicting the inevitable fallout.
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 replaced Trump on the visit to the cemetery.
Instead of the visit, Trump spent hours on that Saturday afternoon watching television inside the US ambassador’s residence, people familiar with the situation said.
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