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Trump wanted a parade, He got chastised instead


Trump’s Paris trip marked by missed moments — and a dire warning
First it was a second-place replacement for his own grand military parade. Then it was a stately gesture to illustrate an alliance he’s done little to cultivate. After a midterm election drubbing, it was an opportunity to retreat and regroup.
Yet by the time US President Donald Trump departed Orly Airport on Sunday, 44 hours after he arrived, the reasons for his trip to Paris had become largely obscured. It did less to bolster the transatlantic partnership than to expose its cracks. The 3,800 miles the President put between himself and Washington did little to buffer the boiling political crises back home.
And it was decidedly gloomier than the procession of tanks and troops Trump originally envisioned rolling through Washington on this date more than a year ago.
Attending the 2017 Bastille Day parade at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron, Trump was dazzled by the soldiers, armored tanks and fighter jets that painted the French sky red, white and blue — and informed high-ranking defense officials upon his return that he wanted a parade of his own in Washington.
Officials scrambled to put something together and set a tentative date of November 11. But when estimates for Trump’s military parade soared to nearly $100 million, officials realized they needed a backup plan to convince Trump a parade was too exorbitant. In the end, they persuaded him that dozens of other world leaders would be in Paris for the commemoration, and he needed to be, too.
But if Trump came to Paris expecting a parade that echoed the one he witnessed last summer, he was disappointed. The events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I were solemn and stately, and the wet streets of Paris were largely empty as the procession got underway Sunday. As early as Saturday afternoon, the reasons for Trump to be in Paris at all had become obscured. Homebound at the US ambassador’s residence after foul weather forced the cancellation of a trip to an American burial ground, the President was invisible as his European counterparts memorialized the World War I slaughter across the former Western Front.
The White House declined to say how he spent the empty hours, though Trump tweeted in the evening he’d had “some very productive meetings and calls for our country today.”
The dire political predicament weighing on Trump cannot have been far from mind, despite the thousands of miles separating Paris and Washington.
Fresh off a midterm election that cost his party control of the House of Representatives, Trump kept an eye on his domestic difficulties while abroad. He accused election officials of rigging the vote in two US Senate races, repeated his claim that he does not personally know the man he tapped to become the acting attorney general and threatened to cut federal aid while blaming the deadly wildfires in California on “poor” forest management.