Macron Hopes Trump Relationship can Help Make France Great Again
Washington (CNN)Donald Trump is not the only President who wants to make his country great again -- his first state dinner guest, Emmanuel Macron, wants to do the same.
That's why the young, pragmatic French President is giving the impression that there's nothing he'd rather do than spend time with his scandal-plagued US counterpart, offering him the respect and validation he craves.
But he's not acting purely out of the goodness of his heart: To fulfill his goal of restoring France's prestige and global influence, he needs the United States -- and that means there is no choice but to deal with the man in the Oval Office.
It was a dynamic on display when Macron played a leading role alongside Washington in punishing chemical weapons strikes in Syria -- reinforcing the values of Western civilization that many Europeans believe Trump disdains. It's why Macron is so insistent that despite Trump's instincts, the United States cannot afford to withdraw its troops from Syria and leave an open playground for extremists like ISIS and regional superpowers like Iran.
And it explains why Macron, who greeted Trump with an air kiss on his cheek as he arrived for his state visit to the White House, has gone out of his way to be friendly to Trump, who is as unpopular in France as he is in the rest of Europe.
On Monday, the leaders flew by helicopter past the monuments in Washington, a city laid out by French architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant before heading down the Potomac to dine with their wives at George Washington's mansion at Mount Vernon.
The first state visit of the current presidency is intended by Trump to return the compliment offered by Macron when he made the President guest of honor at France's Bastille Day national celebration last July, at a time when other European leaders were still recoiling from the shock of Trump's "America First" revolution.
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