French President Emmanuel Macron will become the first foreign leader to make an official state visit sometime this spring, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Wednesday.
The pair got off to a rocky start last June. Shortly after Trump announced plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, Macron publicly invited American scientists to study climate change in France, dubbing the project “Make Our Planet Great Again” – a play off Trump’s campaign slogan. They also exchanged a frosty handshake during their first meeting at a NATO summit in Brussels.
But their relationship began to thaw after Trump accepted an invitation to visit Paris last July for the Bastille Day military parade, a display that impressed Trump so much that he later said he hoped to stage a similar event in Washington on Independence Day.
“I was your guest at Bastille Day, and it was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen,” Trump told Macron during another bilateral meeting in New York last fall ahead of the United Nations General Assembly. “It was two hours on the button, and it was military might and, I think, a tremendous thing for France and the spirit of France.”
Trump did not hold a state visit – which involves an elaborate state dinner – during his first year in office. He played host to both Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and he held an official working dinner for Korean President Moon Jae-in.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · David Nakamura