President Trump hosts France's President Macron
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, to the White House this week for his administration's first state visit.
Here's what they did:
- Monday: Trump and Macron planted a European sessile oak tree on the South Lawn of the White House before dining at Mount Vernon, the riverfront estate of George Washington.
- Tuesday: The Trumps hosted a traditional state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. (The first lady's all-white ensemble stood out and made headlines.) President Trump and Macron held a joint news conference, where the President blasted the Iran deal. Macron has been talking to Trump to try to salvage the deal. Meanwhile, Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron visited the National Gallery of Art. The Trumps later welcomed the Macrons to the White House for their first official state dinner, which was planned by the first lady.
- Today: Macron delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress on the House floor. He broke away from Trump on major issues.
French President Emmanuel Macron has had a busy, multi-day visit with President Trump. But he's not the only European leader who will be at the White House this week.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the White House on Friday.
Her visit will be very different from Macron's.
Merkel's White House trip will have will have none of of the elaborate trimmings associated with a state visit. Macron's state visit this week included a formal arrival ceremony with 500 members of the military and a state dinner with entertainment from the Washington National Opera from the Kennedy Center.
Once the favored European leader for US presidents, including Obama and President George W. Bush, Merkel got off to a frosty start with Trump and struggled to recover. The two leaders went more than five months without speaking earlier this year.
In anticipation of his visit to Washington, Macron held talks with Merkel.
French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking in front of Congress, said that one day, the US will come back to the Paris agreement, which Trump pulled out of last year.
So what's in the deal?
The Paris agreement came together in 2015. Representatives from close to 200 countries gathered in the French capital and pledged to take decisive action on climate change.
Under the accord, countries that signed on agreed reduce their carbon output and halt global warming below two degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
The deal was heralded as "the end of the era of fossil fuels" and "a victory for all of the planet" over the days that followed.
Why Trump backed out
When he announced the US would leave the agreement, Trump cast it as a humiliating defeat for American workers that unfairly advantaged foreign countries.
"At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?" Trump asked in June.
Trump, who has governed with an "American First" policy, said that in backing out of the agreement, he was carrying out the will of the people who voted for him.
"I was elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh," Trump said, "not Paris."
Currently, the United States and Syria are the only countries in the world not in the agreement. (Although Syria said last year that it would join onto the accord.)
French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech before Congress this morning in which he broke with Trump on a number of key issues, including the environment and the Iran deal (more on that in the post just below this one).
Before Macron started speaking, Trump said he was looking forward to watching the address:
President Trump has not tweeted since the conclusion of Macron's speech.
President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron had a friendly state visit this week, exchanging compliments and even shows of affection in front of reporters.
But Macron's address before Congress made clear that there are certain things he and Trump don't see eye-to-eye on:
- The Iran deal: Macon said France will stay in the Iran deal — even if it's not perfect. "We should not abandon it if we don't have something more substantial instead. That is my position," he told Congress. Meanwhile, Trump railed against the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday, calling the agreement "insane" and "ridiculous" for failing to contain Tehran.
- Climate change: President Trump pulled the United States out of the historic Paris climate agreement last year. Macron just said he's sure the US will rejoin it one day. "Let us face it. There is no planet B," Macron said.
- "Fake news": Macron said "we must fight against fake news" — but not the kind Trump talks about. Macron was talking about hoaxes, rumors and other false claims spread on social media, especially stories used to sway political opinion. Trump, on the other hand, uses it to discredit news he doesn't like.
French President Emmanuel Macron said "we must fight against fake news" — but not the kind President Trump talks about.
"We must fight against the ever-growing virus of fake news," he said.
Tackling "fake news" — hoaxes, rumors and other false claims spread on social media — has been a top issue for Macron this year. In January, he announced France will enact legislation in 2018 to combat the spread of "fake news." The legislation will be used especially during election periods, Macron said.
"Without reason, without proof, there is no real democracy, because democracy is about true choices and rational decisions," Macron told Congress today.
This is not how President Trump uses the term "fake news."
After the 2016 election, President Trump almost single-handedly turned the definition of "fake news" on its head. Among his supporters, "fake news" is now a catch-all criticism for any news that Trump doesn't like.
In January, a CNN analysis found that more than once a day, on average, Trump has publicly assailed "fake news," "fake polls," "fake media," and "fake stories."
French President Emmanuel Macron has made one thing clear this week: He and President Trump do not see eye to eye when it comes to the current Iran deal.
Trump railed against the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday, calling the agreement negotiated by the Obama administration "insane" and "ridiculous" for failing to contain Tehran.
However, France is staying in the deal -- "because we signed it," Macron said.
"We should not abandon it if we don't have something more substantial instead. That is my position," Macron told Congress moments ago.
"Your President and your country ... will have to take its own responsibilities regarding this issue," he added.
Both leaders have said they are willing to negotiate on the Iran deal, something Macron made clear in his speech.