Home WORLD NEWS France’s Macron brings his Trump charm offensive stateside

France’s Macron brings his Trump charm offensive stateside

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The tone of his relationship with Macron himself shifted, too, from a headline-grabbing white-knuckle handshake between the two men early in their tenures to frequent phone conversations to this week’s official state visit by Macron and his wife, Brigitte — the first of Trump’s administration.

Macron and his wife arrived at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday afternoon, and before heading to the White House.

The White House will host a dinner Tuesday night in the State Dining Room, at which about 150 guests are expected to attend. The event, entirely planned by first lady Melania Trump, will be a much smaller, more “intimate” affair than an Obama-era event.

The dinner, described as American cuisine with French influence, will be served on Clinton-era and George W. Bush-era china.

In a break with tradition, no congressional Democrats were invited, although some Democratic mayors and governors are expected. Speaker Paul Ryan is among only four congressional Republicans to receive an invite. There are expected to be few, if any, celebrities in attendance.

First lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron visit Mount Vernon, Virginia, on Monday.Ludovic Marin / AFP – Getty Images

On Monday night, the first couple took the Macrons to Mount Vernon, home to America’s first president, George Washington — a highly symbolic destination for French-American relations. The key to Bastille, given to Washington by Marquis de Lafayette, a French military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War, remains on display at Mount Vernon.

Macron, himself new to office last year, launched an aggressive charm offensive on Trump at a time when most European leaders were bewildered by his boisterous rhetoric and nationalist policies.

But the French leader, who is the same age as Trump’s eldest son, quickly learned that the new American president responds well to tough love.

When Trump opted to pull out of the Paris climate accord, Macron delivered an address to the American people in English inviting scientists and entrepreneurs to conduct their research in France. “I do know how your new president now has decided to jeopardize your budget, your initiatives, and he is extremely skeptical about climate change,” he said.

Macron arrives in Washington with several pressing issues at stake. He wants to persuade Trump to exempt European nations from steel tariffs that are part of the Trump’s push to reduce chronic trade deficits with countries around the world — a decision that sent shockwaves across Europe.

As France’s former economy minister, Macron is a globalist who touts the benefits of multilateral free trade agreements and he is a staunch supporter of a strong European Union.

The U.S. is the top destination for French foreign investment — some $19.3 billion in 2016. The U.S. is the largest foreign investor in France, where it invested some $78 billion that same year.

Beyond trade, counterterrorism and national security issues will likely dominate discussions.

Article Source : https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/france-s-macron-brings-his-trump-charm-offensive-stateside-n868376?cid=public-rss_20180424