Trump’s numerous tweets welcoming France’s President Macron on the first state visit of his administration, have been pompously presidential, replete with references to the long History linking the United States and France.
He’s updated his Twitter image to show off the regal pomp such a visit involves. And Trump and Macron have reportedly lavished praise on each other, even kisses, with Trump referring to the “very special relationship” between the United States and France.
As opposed to the UK’s “special relationship”? Theresa May may not be so happy…
In any case, in his welcoming speech, Trump states with force, “the United States and France stand forever in solidarity”:
Our two great republics are linked together by the timeless bonds of history, culture, and destiny. We are people who cherish our values, protect our civilization, and recognize the image of God in every human soul. pic.twitter.com/01c8iSGDB3
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2018
Yet, if you read his twitter stream, those high-sounding tweets about the United States and France are interspersed with campaign-style partisan tweets supporting to the two Republican politicians currently running for Congress. One for Jim Renacci in Ohio, the other for Debbie Lesko in Arizona, urging people to come out and vote to “keep MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” (sic, in capital letters). And, of course, he retweeted Vice President Pence’s tweet in support of Marsha Blackburn for US Senate representing Tennessee.
[Update: the above tweet about “the timeless bonds of history” was followed by another partisan tweet congratulating Debbie Lesko for her win on 25 April. But early results suggest it is “too close for comfort” for the GOP, an “underwhelming win” in a district “they should have swept”.]
The effect of these two streams of tweets is jarring, it’s like two different people tweeting.
But perhaps the most jarring event in the state visit so far is the gift President Macron brought, a sessile oak sapling brought from the Belleau woods, 65 miles northeast of Paris, the site of a World War I battle where 9000 marines died.
The planting ceremony in the White House gardens unleashed an avalanche of twitter comments and in the media, including the Huffington Post:
Indeed, it is difficult to resist the idea that the gift, by its very nature, brought attention to the climate change issue on which Macron and Trump notoriously differ, with Trump withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement despite Macron’s entreaties not to do so.
We have to remember how Macron feels about this. Not so long ago (December 2017, on the eve of the One Planet Summit), he told CBS: “I’m sorry to say that, it [Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement] doesn’t fly, so, so sorry but I think it is a big responsibility in front of history, and I’m pretty sure that my friend President Trump will change his mind in the coming months or years, I do hope.”
The next UN Summit on climate change, COP 24, is to be held in Katowice, in Poland, next November (with lower level preparatory meetings in between). Will Macron manage to change Trump’s mind and get him to return to the fold of the international community?
I doubt it, climate change is not even on the agenda of this state visit. Syria and Iran are. And they’ve made progress. At the joint press conference, Trump seemed to agree with Macron about not leaving Syria without leaving “a strong and lasting footprint”. But on Iran he was not so clear, and continued to complain about the deal, saying “it’s insane, it’s ridiculous. It should have never been made”. When asked about his decision, he said: “no one knows” what he’ll do when the 12 May deadline comes up.
No one knows. That’s what Trump often says when he’s made up his mind to take the kind of decision liberals and progressives don’t like, Europeans allies and Macron included. Don’t hold your breath on Iran.
NOTE: THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED HERE BY IMPAKTER.COM COLUMNISTS ARE THEIR OWN, NOT THOSE OF IMPAKTER.COM.
FEATURED PHOTO CREDIT: White House. gov article: “President Trump calls the U.S.-France relationship “unbreakable”. History shows he’s right.”