As things are brewing on the home front with the Trump Jr. Russian email controversy, President Trump, and First Lady Melania have embarked on their foreign trip aboard to France.
The trip and arrival of the POTUS and FLOTUS began at the Invalides complex, where the entryway is adorned with pillars and artifacts commemorating Louis XIV, the famous French monarch commonly referred to as the Sun King. The pillars were also carved with the emblem of the French monarchy, the trio of fleurs-de-lis. The Hotel national des Invalides was built by King Louis XIV in the 1960s to care for injured and disabled war veterans and is a landmark of historical and national significance.
The first to arrive from the French government was General Pierre de Villiers, the Chef d’État-Major des Armées. Minutes later, President Macron and the French First Lady emerged from their armored Renault and were followed by a group of advisors. The US delegation that would later join them included Cohn, McMaster, Priebus, Powell, and Bossert.
Upon arrival, Trump greeted Macron amicably, shaking his hand (the pooler noted that the handshake was “fairly normal this time”), and saying to him, “Emanuel, nice to see you. This is so beautiful.”
President Macron then led President Trump towards the courtyard where a few hundred troops from the major service branches were lined up in formation. Accompanying the ceremonial display, the band played both Star Spangles Banner and La Marseillais. The two couples then went to visit Napoleon’s tomb. On Friday, President Trump will attend the Bastille Day celebrations and military parade on Champs Elysées.
During the tour, Macron and Trump appeared to be engaged in conversation. There’s mutual ground for gain for both parties in a developing France-U.S. relationship, with Trump in dire need for foreign (particularly European) allies, and Macron hoping to establish himself and his country on a foreign scale in global affairs.
After the tour, the party will visit the restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. The symbolism of the landmarks visited appears to follow the rhetoric that “Paris is still Paris”, despite Trump’s earlier statements (right after the Nice Bastille Day terrorist attack), that “France is no longer France”. Macron’s aides said this trip would present to Trump “a postcard image of France”.
Topics up for discussion will be primarily focused on military and defense co-operations, particularly joint efforts among the two nations. However, Macron will not be expected to shy away from more choppy topics, like the Paris accord and trade.