PARIS — They were handshake rivals before President Trump said the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, and his relationship with President Emmanuel Macron of France didn’t seem to get any better after that awkward beginning.

But Mr. Trump and Mr. Macron appear to have put their strange and tense initial relationship behind them, in the service of a working partnership, and the love of a parade.

Mr. Trump arrived in Paris just after 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, beginning his second European trip in two weeks. The visit was set in motion by a call Mr. Macron had made to discuss Syria, in which he invited Mr. Trump to the July 14 Bastille Day celebration. The president and the first lady, Melania Trump, landed at Paris Orly Airport on Air Force One to the reception of a 10-car motorcade.

Mr. Trump loves the trappings of the presidency, whether in the United States or in another country. That includes occupying the most prestigious seats at the Bastille Day ceremony, a pomp-filled parade steeped in military tradition and hardware.

Mr. Trump, for his own inaugural parade, had expressed a desire to infuse it with tanks and fighter jets. That wish was not granted, but Mr. Trump remains transfixed by displays of military power.

He arrives in Europe once again leaving behind a trail of questions related to Russian meddling in the 2016 election, flying to the more welcoming arms of a foreign leader with whom his bond is still fragile.

Mr. Macron and Mr. Trump have had an unusual relationship, characterized in public primarily by a few forceful, awkward handshakes, particularly their first, which Mr. Macron made clear was an effort to show the American president that he could not be bullied.

So Mr. Trump’s decision to accept the invitation startled some of his aides.

For the embattled American president, the trips overseas — the visit to France will be his third abroad in two months — have been a surprising pleasure, a reprieve from days filled with cable news coverage of the Russia investigation and swirling questions of whether his campaign aides worked in concert with the foreign power.

Mr. Trump’s visit to Paris began with an airport arrival ceremony and was to be followed by a meeting at the American ambassador’s residence with troops on hand.

From there, Mr. Trump will tour Napoleon’s tomb before he meets Mr. Macron and holds a joint news conference. The men will cap the day with a dinner at Le Jules Verne, the elite, blue-lobster-serving restaurant ensconced in the Eiffel Tower.

That meal is something of a surprise, given Mr. Trump’s fondness for ketchup-doused steak and cheeseburgers over gourmet foods.

Mr. Trump has been assured a premium spot at the parade on Friday, before he returns to the United States midday.

Source: NY Times

Tags: ; ; ;