US president accepts Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to attend ceremony marking 100th anniversary of America’s entry into first world war.
Donald Trump will attend France’s Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on 14 July, after accepting an invitation from the French president, Emmanuel Macron.
Macron’s office said on Wednesday that the US president would attend the traditional Paris military parade as part of the commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States into the first world war. US troops will join French soldiers in the annual display of military might on the Champs Elysées.
Trump’s Paris visit will be his first trip to France since he became US president. The two men met for the first time in Brussels last month, with a notorious white-knuckle handshake which the French president later said “wasn’t innocent” and was meant to show he wouldn’t “let anything pass”.
The two men were swiftly at odds over climate change after Trump said he would pull the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord and Macron hit back with an English-language appeal to “make our planet great again”, a riff on Trump’s own promise to “make America great again”.
But the two presidents have since spoken by phone about offering a common response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria as well as joint work on counter-terrorism.
Last week, in his first interview since becoming president, Macron told the Guardian he wanted to work with Trump on counter-terrorism and hoped to bring the US president back into the Paris climate accords. Macron said France would be “perfectly aligned with the US” on responding to chemical weapons use in Syria.
The French president said of Trump: “The difficulty today is that he hasn’t yet drawn up the conceptual framework of his foreign policy. So his politics can therefore be unpredictable, which is a source of discomfort for the world. In terms of the fight against terrorism, he has the same drive for efficiency that I do.
“I don’t share some of his choices, above all on the climate issue. But I hope we can find a way for the US to return to the Paris climate accords. That’s the hand I extend to Donald Trump. I hope he changes his view. Because everything is connected. You can’t want to fight efficiently against terrorism and not be engaged for the climate,” he said.
Trump, who had said Macron’s far-right Front National rival, Marine Le Pen, was the “strongest” candidate in May’s French presidential election, while denying “explicitly endorsing” her, sparked a row with Paris officials earlier this year when he dismissed the French capital as unsafe and unappealing.
In a bombastic February address to a rally outside Washington in which he criticised France, Sweden and Germany over terrorism and defended his crackdown on immigrants, Trump singled out Paris, which had been the target of terrorist attacks by Islamic militants. He said a friend, “Jim”, refused to visit the city any more, saying: “Paris is no longer Paris.”
The city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, responded by tweeting Trump a photo of Mickey and Minnie Mouse at the Eiffel Tower, saying, “We celebrate the dynamism and the spirit of openness of Paris with Mickey & Minnie.”
The White House said Trump looked forward to reaffirming US relations with France and commemorating the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into the war on 14 July.
Last month it emerged that Trump had told the British prime minister, Theresa May, in a phone call that he did not want to go ahead with a state visit to the UK until the British public supported him coming. The US president said he did not want to come if there would be large-scale protests, and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold.
The French Bastille Day commemorations have long been a backdrop for French presidents courting foreign leaders, and an array of international heads of state have attended in recent years. In 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy made the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad a guest of honour at the Bastille day military parade, among a host of other leaders in Paris for the launch of Sarkozy’s project for a “Mediterranean Union”.
Last year’s Bastille Day celebrations were targeted in a devastating terrorist attack in Nice in which 86 people were killed when a lorry ploughed into spectators watching the fireworks display on the seafront.
The French national holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a turning point in the French Revolution.