Trump To Host France’s Emmanuel Macron For First State Visit : NPR

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French President Emmanuel Macron (left) shakes hands with President Trump, next to first lady Melania Trump, during the annual Bastille Day military parade in Paris on July 14, 2017. Trump is hosting Macron in Washington this week for the first official state visit of his presidency.

Christophe Archambault /AFP/Getty Images


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Christophe Archambault /AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron (left) shakes hands with President Trump, next to first lady Melania Trump, during the annual Bastille Day military parade in Paris on July 14, 2017. Trump is hosting Macron in Washington this week for the first official state visit of his presidency.

Christophe Archambault /AFP/Getty Images

President Trump will welcome French President Emmanuel Macron to the United States for an official state visit on Monday, in the latest sign of goodwill between the two leaders.

The two got off to a rocky start after sharing a tense handshake at their first meeting at a NATO summit in Brussels last May. But since that shaky beginning, Trump and Macron have developed a surprisingly collegial bond.

“It’s no secret that President Trump and President Macron enjoy a good working relationship — I may say, a close personal relationship,” a senior administration official told reporters at a briefing ahead of Macron’s visit.


The strength of that bond may be tested during their talks this week, though. Macron is expected to press Trump for concessions on matters where the United States and France have not been aligned, including the U.S. military strategy in Syria, the Iran nuclear deal, and trade.

Until now, Trump and Macron have been able to mostly lay aside their differences and work together on important issues.

France joined the United States and Britain in carrying out airstrikes against the Syrian government earlier this month after a suspected chemical weapons attack.

But cracks in that united front were exposed shortly after those airstrikes took place, when Macron told French media that he had convinced Trump to keep U.S. troops in Syria.

The White House quickly pushed back, saying that the U.S. mission in Syria had not changed, and Trump still expects to bring U.S. troops stationed there home as quickly as possible.

Macron will likely try to get assurances from Trump during their discussions at the White House that the United States will not leave Syria until ISIS is fully defeated.

“The big question is whether the stylistic affinity and the camaraderie that the two presidents developed leads to actual substantive policy changes from Washington’s point of view,” said Jeffrey Rathke, who served as director of the State Department press office during the Obama administration.

Different in politics, similar in styles

Trump and Macron seem worlds apart politically — Macron is a centrist and pro-European Union, while Trump was elected on a populist “America First” platform.

Still, both men are outsiders who unexpectedly rose to their country’s top office. They both have an appreciation for grandiose optics and work to present themselves as strong leaders.


Macron used their common styles to his advantage when he invited Trump to Paris last July, treating Trump and the first lady to dinner at the Eiffel Tower.

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