United States President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and French First Lady Brigitte Macron with a grand military demonstration on the White House south lawn that featured the firing of cannons and playing of each country’s national anthem.
The U.S. first couple welcomed the French first couple in front of crowds of people and members of all five branches of the U.S. military.
The French President joined President Trump fir reviewing the troops in a traditional demonstration and for overseeing the firing of cannons that appeared positioned closer to the Washington monument.
Hear the cannon fire 🔥 roar in the background at the start of a full day, President Trump and First Lady Melania welcoming President Macron and First Lady Brigitte for the first state visit of the Trump administration #America #France #StateVisit @realDonaldTrump @FLOTUS pic.twitter.com/juaV59EgzB
— Michelle Moons (@MichelleDiana) April 25, 2018
— Michelle Moons (@MichelleDiana) April 24, 2018
After the playing of each nations’ anthem, the Presidents offered welcoming remarks that reveled in the longstanding friendship between the United States and France – one forged in the American revolution.
“The wonderful friendship that we have developed over the last year is a testament to the enduring friendship that binds our two nations,” said Trump. “It is truly fitting that we are holding our first official state visit with the leader of America’s oldest ally, the proud nation of France.”
Trump offered sympathies to the Canadian people and victims of the Monday van attack in Toronto. They each also offered well wishes to recently hospitalized former U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
President Trump then thanked both France and the United Kingdom for partnering with the U.S. in striking Syrian regime chemical weapons targets.
Two hundred and forty one years ago, 19-year-old Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette set sail to the United States “to join America’s fight for independence,” Trump recalled. He spoke of Lafayette winning the “trust of George Washington, fought bravely in the battle and helped secure the aid of France for the American cause.” He then quoted seventh U.S. President Andrew Jackson, who said that the memory of Lafayette “will be second only to that of Washington in the hearts of the American people.”
Trump remarked that the friendship between the two countries was “forged in revolution” and persisted through WWI and WWII.
He spoke of brave American and French military men and women who have fought and those who have died, fighting together:
Sixty-thousand American service members rest for eternity beneath the peaceful fields and hills of the French countryside. And in the soil of Virginia and Georgia, French patriots whose names are known only to God lie in unmarked graves.
Our two great republics are linked together by the timeless bonds of history, culture, and destiny. We are people who cherish our values, protect our civilization, and recognize the image of God in every human soul.
President Macron, people of France, people of America: Now is the time for strength. So let us be strong. Let us be united. Let us honor our past and face our future with confidence and with pride. And let the United States and France stand forever in solidarity for the noble cause of liberty and peace.
President Macron then took the podium with thanks for the warm welcome, echoing Trump with condolences from France for the Canadian people and sympathies for former President Bush and his family.
Macron also spoke of the Marquis de Lafayette, but rather of his return to the United States 30 years after America’s Revolutionary War.
The French President said, according to the translation of his words from French, that “America represents endless possibilities” for France. “It is said that France has renewed with the optimism it sometimes envied the United States,” he continued.
Macron told the crowd that on Monday night at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon he had seen a key to the Bastille Prison that had been gifted to Washington from Lafayette. He also spoke of the Belleau Wood oak tree the Macrons gifted the Trumps and planted at the White House on Monday.
“It is together that the United States and France will defeat terrorism,” Macron said through a translator. He said the U.S. and France will “counter the proliferation of arms of mass destruction” both in Iran and North Korea.
The French President spoke also of free trade, climate change, and “a new strong multilateralism that defends pluralism and democracy in the face of ill winds,” according to the translation of his words.
Thanking the Trumps for the invitation, Macron declared in French, “Long live the United States. Love live France.”
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