Trump, Macron make a show as best buds, tussle over Iran


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

With exaggerated handshakes and a pair of kisses, President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron professed a sunny, best-friends relationship Tuesday, even as the two allies strained to bridge differences over the Iran nuclear agreement, Syria and more.

Hosting Macron for the first state visit of his administration, culminating in a lavish dinner Tuesday night, Trump remained firm in his criticism of past and enduring American undertakings in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. But he appeared open to the French president’s pleas to maintain U.S. involvement in Syria – and expressed openness to negotiating a new agreement with Iran.

At a joint White House news conference, he appeared to be more in line with Macron’s push for a longer-term U.S. presence in Syria. Trump, who announced weeks ago that he would withdraw American troops, said Macron reinforced the idea of a potential Iranian takeover of territory liberated from the Islamic State group.

“We’ll be coming home,” Trump said, “but we want to leave a strong and lasting footprint.”

Macron told Trump that together the U.S. and France would defeat terrorism, curtail weapons of mass destruction in North Korea and Iran, and act together on behalf of the planet.

Tuesday evening, Macron was honored Tuesday at the first state dinner of the Trump administration. In his toast, Trump asked that their “friendship grow even deeper” and that their “kinship grow even stronger.”

Trump thanked his wife, Melania, for pulling together the first state dinner of his administration. In a toast, Trump described his wife as “America’s absolutely incredible first lady.”

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