The bromance between Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron has been featuring on the cover of the world’s press for months now. The ongoing state visit by the French President to Washington has only served as a reminder of just how awkward the relationship between 40-years old Macron and 71-years old Trump is.
President Trump had a time of his life during his state visit to Paris last year. President Macron treated him with every honor and provided him with a front row seat to watch an impressive military parade for the Bastille Day. Mr. Trumps stay in France was crowned with a dinner Macrons hosted in the Eiffel tower. Sources close to the White House say that both the President and the First Lady are eager to return the favor to Mr. and Mrs. Macron by being hosts in Mount Vernon. Unfortunately, the military parade won’t take place, but certainly not for lack of trying.
President Macron arrives in Washington with a difficult mission. Almost every other European leader is appalled by Mr. Trump and is actively trying to avoid him. Macron, often described as the ultimate pragmatists, doesn’t have such problems.
“I’m here to deal with the President of the United States and people of the United States elected Donald Trump,” he said for Fox News.
His aim is twofold: to prevent Mr. Trump from backing out of the Iranian Deal and to convince him to revert his decision on troop withdrawal from Syria. Both objectives are quite important and hard to achieve, and it will take all of President Macron’s “Trump Whisperer” magic to accomplish them.
On the other hand, President Trump possible has an even harder task. In order to maintain his relationship with Macron, he will have to make some concessions. The trouble is that both issues are something he has been quite vocal in the past and explaining to his supporters why he let a French president to corner him into accepting his demands will be unpleasant, to say the least.
But Macron has other aces up his sleeves, apart from his charm. Despite all American might, Washington still needs allies, especially in Europe, where there seems to be a short supply of them at the moment. France brings a lot to the table, being one of the few NATO and EU countries which are fully functional, with a capable army able to project power, and a political will to demonstrate it. It is also a member f the UN Security Council. The current situation plays heavily in Paris’ favor, as the traditional American allies seem either unable or unwilling to continue their cordial relationships with Washington.
The UK is overwhelmed with Brexit and Trump is so unpopular in Britain that he still hasn’t accepted the Queen’s invitation to visit. Angela Merkel, on the other hand, doesn’t really hide her disdain for the American President and his brush ways, an emotion that will be answered on Friday when she visits Washington. Unlike Macron, Merkel won’t be attending private dinners with the First Couple or any other honorifics Trump lavished on Macron.