Former Pentagon chief: Trump 'let down our country' by skipping WWI cemetery visit due to rain

Former Pentagon chief: Trump 'let down our country' by skipping WWI cemetery visit due to rain
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Former Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelHundreds of West Point alumni call out Esper over military's role in protests Can he really do that? Yes, he probably can — because Congress let him GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE on Monday ripped President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE for skipping a visit to a World War I memorial in France because of rain.

"It was not that big a challenge or problem. It was an embarrassment," Hagel, who served in the Obama administration between 2013 and 2015, said on "CNN Right Now."

"He let down our veterans, he let down our country. And I think he sent a very wrong message to the world," he added, saying that he's disappointed Trump didn't make the trip considering the magnitude of the role the war played in the world's history. 

Trump has faced widespread criticism over his decision not to attend the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial over the weekend as world leaders commemorated the day that marked 100 years since the end of the First World War. 

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The White House said in a statement that the visit was canceled due to "scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather."

But many domestic and international officials have criticized Trump for skipping the event, which was attended by multiple other world leaders.

"They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen," Nicholas Soames, a British politician and grandson of Winston Churchill, tweeted.

"President @realDonaldTrump a no-show because of raindrops? Those veterans the president didn’t bother to honor fought in the rain, in the mud, in the snow - & many died in trenches for the cause of freedom," former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryWesley Clark says Trump not serving in Vietnam 'might have been for the best' in light of Russian bounty reports Juan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden The Memo: Trump's 2020 path gets steeper MORE tweeted.

Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, has repeatedly knocked Trump throughout his presidency. In January, he called the president an "embarrassment" after reports surfaced that he referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as "shithole countries."