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Trump Lauds ‘Unbreakable’ Trans-Atlantic Alliance as D-Day Anniversary Marked

U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron attended a ceremony Thursday

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Following the ceremony, Trump and Macron held a bilateral meeting . VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron attended a ceremony Thursday at the American Military Cemetery in Normandy to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, following with a bilateral meeting in the city of Caen.

Ceremonies have been taking place at other cemeteries and monuments across the region as the U.S., France, Britain, Canada and other Allied nations pay tribute to the fallen.

About 2,500 U.S. troops died in a single day on June 6, 1944, as Allied forces invaded Nazi-occupied France. Total Allied casualties that day are estimated at 10,000. Less than a year after the invasion, officially named “Operation Overlord,” Germany surrendered as Berlin fell to the Allies.

The 75th anniversary was marked at dawn on Omaha Beach, below the U.S. cemetery. American D-Day veterans were among the crowd that had gathered to greet the sunrise with a minute’s silence.

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French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S President Donald Trump stand during a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, June 6, 2019. VOA

President Trump and French President Macron arrived by helicopter several hours later. Seated in the front row, the D-Day veterans were given repeated standing ovations by the thousands-strong crowd. The French president spoke first.

“We know what we owe to you, veterans, our freedom. On behalf of my nation, I just want to say thank you,” Emmanuel Macron told the veterans in English.

Turning to his American counterpart, he spoke pointedly of the alliance between nations underpinning victory and freedom.

“The United States of America, dear President Trump, is never so great as when it fights for the freedom of others,” said Macron.

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President Trump continued the tribute to the fallen and to the veterans present at the ceremony, saying they had saved not only a nation, but a civilization.

“To the more than 170 veterans of World War II, who join us today, you are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live. You are the pride of our nation, you are the glory of our republic, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Today we express our undying gratitude, when you were young, these men enlisted their lives, in a great crusade, one of the greatest of all times,” Trump said, before paying tribute to the shared sacrifice among allies.

“Our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war, and proven in the blessings of peace. Our bond is unbreakable,” Trump said.

U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces on D-Day. That post, now known as Supreme Allied Commander Europe, is currently held by General Tod Wolters, who also attended the ceremony Thursday. Despite transatlantic political tensions, he told VOA the alliance with Europe is in good health.

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French President Emmanuel Macron (L) meets U.S President Donald Trump during a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, June 6, 2019. VOA

“Take a look at what took place on Utah Beach, the cooperation between multiple nations and multiple domains,” said Wolters. “And all you have to do is put your feet on the sands and you get a deep appreciation for how powerful the alliance is and the importance of keeping that alliance together. And today I feel very, very confident that the alliance is a strong as it’s ever been.”

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European leaders have repeatedly praised America’s sacrifice, hoping to underline to President Trump the importance of the transatlantic bond at a time of heightened tension and fears over the future of the alliance.

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President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron, walk through The Normandy American Cemetery, following a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 2019, in Colleville-sur-Mer, No. VOA

Following the ceremony, Trump and Macron held a bilateral meeting in the nearby city of Caen, where NATO, trade and defense issues were expected to feature high on the agenda. (VOA)

Next Story

Trump EPA Finalizes Rollback of Key Obama Climate Rule that Targeted Coal Plants

The new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule gives America's 50 states three years to develop their own emissions reduction plans

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EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler speaks with the media at the Environmental Protection Agency, June 19, 2019, in Washington. VOA

The Trump administration is rolling back rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the United States as scientists continue to warn countries to rapidly cut emissions to prevent the most drastic effects of climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday it had finalized rules to replace the Clean Power Plan, former President Barack Obama’s initiative to cut global warming emissions from coal plants.

The new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule gives America’s 50 states three years to develop their own emissions reduction plans by encouraging coal plants to improve their efficiency.

By contrast, the Clean Power Plan was designed to slash power plant carbon emissions by more than one-third from 2005 levels by 2030 by pushing utilities to replace coal with cleaner fuels like natural gas, solar and wind.

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The Trump administration is rolling back rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. VOA

The Obama-era plan was never enacted, however, because of lawsuits filed by Republican states and hundreds of companies. The Supreme Court halted its enactment in February 2016.

“States will be given the flexibility to design a plan that best suits their citizens environmental and energy needs, according to a summary of the new rules,” according to a summary of the ruling.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at a Washington news conference, “Our ACE rule will incentivize new technology which will ensure coal plants will be part of a cleaner future.”

But environmentalists, many Democratic lawmakers and some state attorneys general have labeled the new rules the “Dirty Power Plan,” maintaining they will lead to increases in carbon emissions and other pollutants over the next few decades.

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“At a time when Americans are urging us to take meaningful climate action and reduce our carbon footprint, today’s Dirty Power Plan is a failure of vision and leadership,” said Joe Goffman, executive director of Harvard University’s Environmental & Energy Law Program.

Even the EPA’s own regulatory analysis last year estimated Trump’s ACE rule would kill an additional 300 to 1,500 people each year by 2030 because of more air pollution from the U.S. power grid.

Trump has, nevertheless, dismissed scientific warnings on climate change, including a report this year from scientists at more than a dozen federal agencies noting that global warming from fossil fuels “presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life.”

Trump promised early in his presidency to kill the Clean Power Plan as part of an effort to revive the ailing coal industry, contending it exceeded the federal government’s authority.

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday it had finalized rules to replace the Clean Power Plan. Pixabay

Wednesday’s announcement to overturn Obama-era climate rules is part of a broader Trump administration effort to roll back “a multitude of health, safety environmental and consumer protections at the behest of corporate interests,” the non-profit consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen concluded in a report released in May.

The report said shortly after Trump took office in early 2017, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent the Trump administration a list of 132 regulations that “concerned” members and detailed their “preferred course of action to address its concerns on each of the regulations.”

The report concluded that “Regulatory agencies have granted or are working on granting 85 percent of the wishes related to rulemakings on a list of deregulatory demands submitted” by NAM.

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The new rule is expected to take effect within 30 days. (VOA)