Donald Trump is looking to lessen the blow of his party’s mid-term losses and bury bad headlines about the abrupt firing of his attorney general with a weekend in Paris.
He and first lady Melania Trump will soon be on their way to France for a program celebrating the centennial anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in WWI.
Trump had planned to have his own procession this weekend in Washington mimicking the military parade that France puts on in Paris every year on Bastille Day.
The Pentagon called off the show of American military might after the projected price of the vanity project hit $92 million, allegedly over a dispute with the local government over costs, and Trump decided to join fellow world leaders in France for the annual Armistice Day celebration at the Arc De Triomphe.
Donald Trump is looking to lessen the blow of his party’s mid-term losses and bury bad headlines about the abrupt firing of his attorney general with a weekend in Paris. He’s seen here in France with Emmanuel Macron in July of 2017 on Bastille Day
Trump hosted the French President at the White House earlier this year for his first and only State Dinner
He goes to Paris early Friday and returns late Sunday evening. He’ll have a full week of meetings in Washington after that before his traditional Thanksgiving break.
Originally, Trump had planned to unwind with a leisurely golf trip to Ireland after he’d finished in France. He’s been moonlighting for nearly two months straight at campaign rallies as his party’s top surrogate in the evenings and on most weekends.
Facing protests as massive as the ones he encountered in the U.K. over the summer and a foreign government that was openly distasteful of him, Trump cancelled the visit to his Irish golf property and scaled back the tour of Europe to the Armistice Day activities in France.
The White House is positioning the weekend trip as ‘a historic opportunity to honor the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for our freedom’ in the war that ended 100 years ago on Saturday.
‘The President’s participation in these events will also serve as the reminder of the important role that the United States has played and continues to play in ensuring peace and security in Europe,’ a senior official said.
Aside from a formal slate of events for world leaders in France, the president will visit a visit two cemeteries: one for American soldiers at the Belleau Wood battlefield and the Suresnes American Cemetery. He’s also set to participate in a closed-door meet and greet with embassy staff.
While Europe knows Nov. 11 as Armistice Day, the date belongs to the veterans in America, where it is a holiday that is recognized by the federal government.
The White House says that Trump will deliver traditional Veterans Day remarks at Suresnes, as such. His administration’s efforts to improve vets’ health care is likely to come up.
Trump’s domestic problems may not follow him to Europe, where his direct interactions with the media were expected to be limited. It wasn’t a certainty that Trump would have to address difficulties on trade and security with Europe, either. His interactions with foreign leaders in Paris are also being kept to a minimum.
Trump’s domestic problems may not follow him to Europe. His only scheduled sit-down is with Macro. Here, the pair are pictured at Elysee Palace in Paris in July last year
His only scheduled sit-down is with French President Emmanuel Macron. The rest of his conversations with leaders will take part at Sunday’s ceremony and a Saturday night dinner.
Trade is a topic is ‘very likely something that would come up’ in the bilateral with Macron, but not necessarily from the president, a White House official said.
The United States’ sanctions on Iran for terror financing, ballistic missile testing and nuclear activity – which were fully reinstated this week – was expected to be at the top of the leaders’ discussion list, however. Businesses in Europe will suffer mightily if they continue to do business with Iran and have not received a U.S. waiver.
Syria, and the continued war and humanitarian crisis there, will also be a subject, U.S. officials said.
A possible summit with Vladimir Putin was postponed to later this month in Argentina at the G20. They’ll have informal conversation in Paris at the events but they will not sit down for talks in Paris four days after the election U.S. officials say they attempted to interfere in.
‘The only bilateral meeting that we have planned for the President will be with President Macron. We do not plan a separate bilateral meeting with President Putin or with other leaders in Paris,’ a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.
Trump told reporters traveling with him on Monday that he expected the meeting with Putin was likely to take place in Buenos Aires.
‘Getting along with Russia, China, and all of them would be a good thing; I’ve said it for a long time. So we’ll have plenty of meetings. But I’m not sure that we’ll have a meeting in Paris — probably not,’ the president stated.
The United States faces a new challenge from Macron, who promoted the creation of a European Army to protect the continent this week as he paid homage to soldiers who died in the first world war.
‘When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty, who is the main victim? Europe and its security,’ Macron reportedly said in Verdun of Trump’s announcement that he is exiting a Cold War-era pact with Russia that regulates the two powers’ nuclear activity.
The Trump administration says that Russia habitually violates the outdated treaty that failed to imagine a world in which rising powers that were not party to the deal became nuclear capable.
Macron said that Europe must learn to defend ‘itself better alone, without just depending on the United States’ and it will not be able to do that that ‘unless we decide to have a true European army.’
The proposal acknowledged the reality of the ‘America First’ doctrine and unabashed nationalism that drove Trump to power two years ago and was reaffirmed in by large swaths of the country last Tuesday.
Trump has played chicken with NATO nations failing to live up to their expected contributions and pulled the United States out of international agreements regulating emissions, nuclear activity and trade.
In his wake, Trump has left a power vacuum that allies of the United States worry that China and Russia will fill. He has in some ways blunted the countries’ rise with sanctions and tariffs for malign activities such as election meddling and intellectual property theft. But he has only acted out against them when it’s in the United States’ direct interests.
He has also put old allies of the United States on notice in the arenas of security and trade.
At the United Nations, the president told fellow leaders during a speech that the United States is no longer content to be the world’s policeman or its piggybank.
‘We believe that trade must be fair and reciprocal. The United States will not be taken advantage of any longer,’ he said.
At the beginning of the very same remarks at the General Assembly session in New York, leaders audibly laughed at him as he began one of his routine boasts about the success of his administration.
This after Trump claimed that America ‘is being respected again’ under his leadership.
He insisted later that he meant it to be a laugh line for friends in the room. ‘They weren’t laughing at me,’ he told press. ‘They were laughing with me.’