Macron lands first state visit of Biden’s presidency

By AAMER MADHANI and DARLENE SUPERVILLE – Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Washington in early December for President Joe Biden’s first state visit of his term, an occasion marked by pomp and pageantry that is designed to celebrate interstate relations United States and its closest allies.

The Dec. 1 visit, following the U.S. midterm elections and the Thanksgiving holiday, will be the second state visit by Macron, who was first elected to lead his country in May 2017 and won a second term earlier this year. Macron also had a state visit during the Trump years.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced the visit on Monday, saying it will “underline the deep and enduring relationship with France, our oldest ally.” It will be the first time the White House has hosted a world leader for a state visit since the coronavirus outbreak.

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The invitation comes as a sign that relations between Biden and Macron have come full circle. The relationship fell apart last year after the United States announced a deal to sell nuclear submarines to Australia. The US move undermined a deal that had been struck for France to sell diesel-powered submarines to Australia.

After the announcement of the agreement, born of a new security agreement between the United States, Australia and Great Britain, France briefly recalled to Paris its ambassador in Washington, Philippe Etienne. Biden also sought to smooth things over with France, eventually acknowledging to Macron that his administration had been “clumsy” in the way it handled the issue.

The Biden administration has since praised Macron for being one of the most vocal Western allies in condemning Russia’s 7-month war in Ukraine and imposing sweeping sanctions on the Russian economy and officials close to President Vladimir Putin.

At the heart of Biden’s speech for the presidency was a vow to restore America’s global leadership after four years of Donald Trump’s “America First” worldview. But Biden acknowledged that Macron and other allies remain skeptical of his ability to leverage strong American leadership around the world.

Biden likes to recount how, at a meeting of world leaders he attended shortly after taking office, he declared that “America is back.” He says his counterparts, starting with Macron, responded by asking: “For how long?”

Macron was also the first world leader to secure a state visit under Trump, although their relationship grew more rocky afterward.

The French leader had sought to cultivate a close partnership with Trump and hosted the Republican in 2017 for July 14 celebrations in Paris. Trump returned the favor to Macron’s state visit.

But the relationship soured after Trump withdrew US troops from Syria without coordination with France and other NATO allies. Trump denigrated NATO.

In one of their last face-to-face encounters, at a gathering of NATO leaders in London in 2019, Trump and Macron barely hid their frustration with each other.

Shortly before that meeting, Macron had complained that the alliance was suffering from “brain death” caused by diminishing US leadership under Trump. Trump countered after a meeting with Macron that the French leader had made “very, very mean” and “disrespectful” comments.

During Macron’s visit in April 2018, Trump and his wife, Melania, scheduled a double date with Macron and his wife, Brigitte, at Mount Vernon, the Virginia estate of George Washington, the founding president of the United States. United.

The couples helped plant a tree on the White House lawn before setting off on a helicopter tour of the landmarks built in a capital designed by French-born Pierre L’Enfant as they flew south to ‘at Mount Vernon, located along the Potomac River. Macron was welcomed to the White House the following day with a resounding 21-gun salute, his first Oval Office meeting with Trump, a joint press conference with the President and a State dinner for 150 guests in the dining room. White House state dining.

Scott Morrison, then Australian Prime Minister, also came on a state visit at Trump’s invitation in September 2019. Trump had announced a third state visit, by Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, but it was postponed due to the pandemic and may not be held until Trump loses re-election in 2020.

President Barack Obama also honored France with a state visit in 2014.

Obama and French President Francois Hollande celebrated the ties between their nations by visiting Monticello, the sprawling estate in Charlottesville, Virginia, owned by Thomas Jefferson, the former US president and famed Francophile. Jefferson was one of the first American emissaries to France.

Hollande’s visit was the first such recognition for France in two decades. But that proved a bit of a diplomatic challenge as he traveled without a female companion after a very public breakup with longtime partner Valerie Trierweiler. Holland and Trierweiler were a couple when the White House extended the invitation, but the relationship ended after a gossip magazine revealed a secret meeting between Hollande and a French actress.

The last-minute change of plan – Hollande coming solo – caused heartburn for US officials planning the diplomatic event. The Obamas tried to solve the problem by placing Hollande between them at a state dinner for 350 guests in a heated pavilion on the South Lawn of the White House on a freezing February night.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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