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In France, Trump and Macron Strive to Put Awkward Start Behind Them

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. He then attended a meeting with troops at the American ambassador’s residence while his wife, Melania, toured the Necker children’s hospital.

“I always say how important it is to have, you know, teachers in children’s lives. It’s the most important,” Mrs. Trump said. “They see them every day and spend so much time. It’s very important in the child’s life.”

“You look very good. Very strong,” Mrs. Trump told a 14-year-old girl in a wheelchair. “One day you will be walking and running.”

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: NYT > World

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