U.S. President Donald Trump will attempt to mend some fences with the French as he arrived in Paris today. Trump a year ago characterized Paris as an unsafe city due to terrorism will mark the French national holiday, Bastille Day, hold counter-terrorism talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and mark the US’ 100th anniversary of entering World War I.
The president left Washington on Wednesday evening and arrived in Paris at 9 a.m. local time. He’s scheduled to meet with Macron and French military leaders later today before issuing a statement to the press.
Before departing the U.S., the president gave several interviews at the White House, including an extended conversation with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network, a prominent figure in conservative political and religious circles.
A year ago Trump described Paris as “so, so, so out of control, so dangerous,” because of terrorists operating there. More recently he suggested that Islamic State attacks in Paris had diminished its standing as a world-class destination.
As he pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 international Paris accord to control greenhouse gas emissions, Trump said he was elected to represent “Pittsburgh, not Paris.” Nevertheless, he subsequently accepted President Macron’s invitation to attend the country’s annual mid-July celebrations.
During his two-day visit, Trump will meet with Macron, whose political fortunes have soared this year. The U.S. president also will lunch with military officials, tour the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte and join in Bastille Day celebrations Friday.
The two leaders are scheduled to meet Thursday before speaking to reporters.
On Friday, Trump and his wife, Melania, will attend the annual Bastille Day parade, which will include both French and U.S. military personnel.
There is hope in some circles that the Trump visit will mend some fences between the allies who fought two world wars together after the president’s criticism of the city and the government during the 2016 election.
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Photo courtesy White House