President Donald Trump on Saturday made an unannounced trip to Arlington National Cemetery to pay his respects to deceased veterans.
Trump’s rainy-day outing coincided with “National Wreaths Across America Day,” an annual event dedicated to organizing wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington and other cemeteries across the country.
The president wore his trademark long overcoat and brandished a black umbrella at the grave site just one month after he was criticized for declining to visit the historic military graveyard on Veterans Day and for not paying his respects at a French cemetery for American troops near Paris because of rainy weather.
Briefly addressing reporters during the visit, the president hailed a ruling by a federal judge on Friday evening invalidating Obamacare as “a great victory,” according to a pool report.
Trump’s trip across the Potomac River on Saturday was his first visit to Arlington since he was roundly denounced on Nov. 11 for breaking with past commanders in chief, who made the presidential pilgrimage as part of an unofficial Veterans Day tradition.
Trump said later that week in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News that he regretted not making time to visit the Virginia cemetery.
“I should have done that, I was extremely busy on calls for the country, we did a lot of calling as you know,” Trump said.
On an overseas visit to Paris last month to mark the centennial of the Armistice that ended World War I alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders, Trump canceled a planned Nov. 10 visitation to the Aisne-Marne memorial and cemetery about 60 miles outside the city, where 2,289 veterans are buried. A monument at the nearby Belleau Wood honors the Marines who fought there in a pivotal battle in 1918.