The president has expressed regret that he did not visit Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day. “I should have done that,” Trump said during an interview that will air on “Fox News Sunday.”
This is unusual because Trump rarely makes a public expression of regret. The president has recently faced some criticism over how he is leading America’s armed forces.
President Trump had just returned from a European trip, but he had no public events scheduled on Monday when Veterans Day was observed as a federal holiday.
“I was extremely busy on calls for the country, we did a lot of calling as you know,” he told Fox News’s Chris Wallace.
Trump was in Paris on Sunday for Veterans Day to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. He delivered remarks at a U.S. cemetery there. The president faced a lashing for skipping a visit to a military cemetery the previous day. He blamed the decision on poor weather.
Presidents typically attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington cemetery. This year that ceremony took place on Sunday, when the Trump was in France.
“In retrospect I should have and I did last year and I will virtually every year,” Trump responded when asked why he did not go to the cemetery. “But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American cemetery in Paris and I really probably assumed that was fine.”
The president has recently come under scrutiny because of his decision to send active-duty soldiers to the U.S. southern border in response to a caravan of Central American migrants. Some say this move brought partisan politics into military affairs.
He has also been criticized for his failure to visit U.S. service members serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other places where they are fighting overseas.
The president maintains that his record as pro-military is solid, saying he has boosted Pentagon spending and helped enact reforms for veterans’ health care.