President Donald Trump on Monday decided to skip the annual memorial held at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., to honor fallen soldiers on Veterans’ Day, and quickly drew widespread criticism.

Trump’s decision came after he also missed a visit to an American cemetery in Paris over the weekend, citing rainy weather as his reason. The president was also widely rebuked for this excuse. Other world leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended that ceremony, while White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and several other officials took Trump’s place.

Vice President Mike Pence also skipped a visit to Arlington. Instead of visiting Arlington on Monday, Trump stayed home and ranted on Twitter about the recounts being held in Florida for the governorship and the U.S. Senate. The president falsely claimed some ballots were being “forged” or were “missing,” and said Gov. Rick Scott and Rep. Ron DeSantis — both Republicans — should be declared the winners in their respective races.

Trump’s command could potentially disenfranchise 5,000 overseas ballots, the majority of which likely belong to U.S. military members.


On Saturday, Daniel A. Smith — the chairman of political science at Florida University — tweeted that nearly 20,000 overseas votes have yet to be counted in Florida, and that 41 percent of them belong to registered Democrats.

According to Florida law, military members have until Nov. 16 to have their absentee ballots accepted and counted.

In an interview on MSNB’s Morning Joe on Tuesday, former CIA Director John Brennan called Trump’s decisions to miss the two Veterans Day events “puzzling.”

“These were relatively easy to do events, both in France as well as here,” said Brennan. “I don’t know whether or not he gets in some moods and just sulks and doesn’t want to be part of these ceremonies, whether it was just the weather and he was concerned about what that might do to his image, but it really is one of the more puzzling aspects of Mr. Trump’s performance.”

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