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Trump-Macron Meeting: Can The U.S. And France Be Friends?

By Polina Tikhonova. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Paris becomes a ‘No Trump Zone’ as President Donald Trump arrives in the French capital for a game-changing Trump-Macron meeting.

Despite Trump making anti-Paris remarks in the past and withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, the U.S. President has arrived in the French capital to attend the annual July 14th parade on the Champs-Elysées. With the highly-anticipated Trump-Macron meeting already scheduled in Paris, the U.S.-French relations could enter a new phase.

Trump-Macron Meeting
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

Amid the mounting criticism against French President Emmanuel Macron for inviting Trump to the annual Bastille Day celebrations, French people are not so disgusted by the idea of Trump visiting their capital, which he has infamously lambasted in the past.

In fact, polls show that a large majority of French people favored Macron’s decision to invite the U.S. President to Paris. Despite the somewhat awkward start in the relations between the two new presidents, U.S.-French ties could soar if the Trump-Macron meeting goes smoothly.

Trump-Macron Meeting: A New Era in US-French Relations?

Even though Trump has been quite hostile toward France and Paris on the presidential campaign trail – bashing France for being “no longer France” and saying that people “don’t want to go there anymore” – most French people are willing to turn a blind eye on the U.S. President’s controversial remarks about their country for the benefit of the Trump-Macron cooperation on the fight against ISIS.

Trump still has to expect a fair share of anti-Trump banners on the streets of Paris, as a number of groups on social media have pledged to put up French resistance to protest the meeting between the two presidents. A poll by the Elabe polling agency showed that nearly 60% of French people did not mind Trump coming to Paris to attend the annual July 14th parade on the Champs-Elysées.

The scheduled Trump-Macron meeting, which could give a fresh start to the U.S.-French relations despite the European Union’s resentment of the new 45th U.S. President, comes just several days after Trump had to postpone his trip to London amid the large-scale protests in the British capital. But French people – surprisingly – backed Macron’s decision to host the controversial U.S. President.

Could Trump Put an End to Terrorism Chaos in France?

President Donald Trump’s anti-Paris remarks still have many French people up in arms about the Trump-Macron meeting, as left-wing voters have been very critical of the U.S. President coming to Paris. Macron’s invitation to Trump has been bashed by the French President’s opponents, who advised him against inviting Trump to France after the U.S. President’s controversial withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement and his infamous remarks about Paris.

However, Trump coming to Paris might be a signal to the French people that he is prepared to embrace France as an ally at a time when France needs help from its allies the most after a string of deadly terror attacks that have rocked the nation and left more than 200 French people dead since November 2015.

French people seem to agree that their nation needs its oldest ally in the face of the U.S., and Trump – widely known for his strict stance on battling terrorism around the world – embracing France in the Trump-Macron talks could be good news for the European country.

Why Did Macron REALLY Invite Trump?

French President Macron inviting Trump to Paris for the parade was no olive branch gesture after their somewhat awkward handshake in May, which many interpreted as the beginning of hostilities between the two new presidents.

In fact, Macron would invite any U.S. President for this year’s annual Bastille Day parade, as the event is set to commemorate the 100th anniversary of U.S. involvement in World War I. France inviting the 45th U.S. President to attend the parade has been planned for quite a while, and the new French President, who assumed office on May 14, simply re-sent the invitation right after becoming president.

One can argue, however, that Macron could have cancelled the invitation and carry out the parade without the presence of the U.S. President. After all, Trump has been very critical of France lately and even suggested that the series of exhausting terror attacks had changed the nation.

While the remarks drew criticism from French people, there is no denial that France has substantially changed over the past two years, as the nation is still in the state of emergency and has been since the deadly November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. Security measures across nation have been beefed up and multiple studies have shown that more than half of French people are living in the constant fear of a looming terror attack.

Can Trump and Macron Be Friends?

Former French President François Hollande angrily reacted to Trump’s remarks, and said the then-presidential hopeful was showing “disrespect to an ally.” But French people tore Hollande into pieces in several polls, which ultimately prompted the ex-President to not seek re-election. In a poll released last November, only 4% of French people said they thought Hollande was doing a good job, the worst score of any French President over the past three decades.

Trump is likely to attract some resistance on the Paris streets during his visit ahead of the Trump-Macron meeting, but the U.S. President’s tight level of security would keep him out of harm’s way. It is yet unclear what the two presidents will be discussing during the highly-anticipated Trump-Macron talks – though the Paris climate change agreement will likely be at the forefront – and the majority of local and international media outlets seem confident that the U.S. President is willing to warm up to France.

Despite the stark differences in their philosophies and approach to politics, Trump and Macron will likely sit down to try to come to some understanding on a number of issues, including national security, immigration, trade, climate change and the fight against terror groups.

The Trump-Macron meeting comes just weeks after the French President hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin. The highly-anticipated meeting between the two presidents will show whether or not Trump can forge a strong relationship with an influential world leader Macron.

The post Trump-Macron Meeting: Can The U.S. And France Be Friends? appeared first on ValueWalk.

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