On Tuesday, President Donald Trump welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House, where the leaders will meet to discuss how to settle some of the points of contention between the two countries.
Macron courted Trump last year, when he visited Paris and attended the city’s famous French military parade as part of the Bastille Day celebrations.
Now its Trump’s turn and his administration will be holding the first state dinner in honor of Macron’s three-day visit.
Trump welcomed Macron by referencing the long friendship between the world powers.
“The wonderful friendship we have developed over the past year is a testimony to the historic friendship between our two nations,” said Trump.
However, these “friends” have a few things they disagree on.
“Despite their evident personal chemistry, Trump and Macron have significant policy differences to discuss. In addition to the Iran nuclear deal, Macron wants a permanent exemption from the president’s new steel and aluminum tariffs. And he’d like to see a more lasting commitment from the U.S. to stabilization efforts in Syria. Military forces from France and the U.K. joined the U.S. in launching air strikes on Syria earlier this month in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack. But Trump is impatient to withdraw U.S. troops from that country as quickly as possible,” writes NPR.
Macron hinted at a few of these issues in the remarks at the formal state arrival ceremony.
“It is together that we shall build a new form of prosperity for all people, which means innovation, free and fair trade, and the protection of our middle classes,” said Macron. “It is together that we will be able to act effectively for our planet.”
The Iran Deal, for example, is also one of the policy differences between the leaders.
“People know my views on the Iran deal. It was a terrible deal. It should have never, ever been made,” said Trump.”It’s insane. It’s ridiculous. It should have never been made, but we will be talking about it.”
“We have a common objective, we want to make sure there’s no escalation and no nuclear proliferation in the region. We now need to find the right path forward,” said Macron in response, through an interpreter.
Another point of contention is the Paris accord.
Trump recently pulled out the U.S. from the deal because he claimed it’s “less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”
Macron, on the other hand, is on a mission to “save the planet.”
“Together, we can work for our planet. I don’t only mean for the climate, but also for biodiversity, and our oceans,” tweeted Macron.
Macron is also hoping to negotiate a trade deal in France’s favor.
“If you make war against everybody, you make (a) trade war against China, trade war against Europe, war in Syria … come on, it doesn’t work. You need allies. We are the ally,” said Macron to Fox News.
Regardless of their differences, Macron has a lot to lose and needs the U.S. to restore France’s global influence.
“I’m not the one to judge … or to consider because of his controversies or because of his investigations your President is less credible for me, for my people and for the rest of the world,” said Macron in a pre-visit interview with Fox News Sunday. “I’m here to deal with the President of the United States and people of the United States elected Donald Trump.”
White House officials are ultimately optimistic about the meeting.
“What you do have are two leaders who have a great deal of respect for one another, who have a great friendship,” said Sarah Sanders, White House spokeswoman.
She also said she expects “a very productive and very positive state visit for both countries.”
Trump will also be hosting Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday.
Author’s note: A lot of media outlets have been pointing fun at Trump and Macron’s “bromance” saying it’s a farce. Even if this is just for show, it will still likely have an impact. Macron has recognized that America is still the world’s greatest power and that it finally has a leader willing to wield this power. It’s in European allies best interest to play nice with President Trump.