Trump expected to invite France's Macron for first state visit of his presidency

Date has not officially been seet

By MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN
Headline Goes Here Drew Angerer/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Donald Trump is expected to invite French President Emmanuel Macron to Washington for an official state visit later this year, the first of his presidency, according to two diplomatic sources.

While a date for the visit has not yet been officially set and the White House has not made an announcement, sources say that could come as soon as this week, while Trump attends the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The White House told CNN: "We don't have an announcement to make at this time." The first lady's office did not return CNN's request for comment.

The White House has hosted numerous world leaders in the first year of the Trump administration, but none were official state visits with all the trappings, pomp, circumstance and accompanying glittering state dinner.

Trump is the first president in decades to not host a state visit during his first year in office. The White House has said there's no particular reason for the delay.

Trump himself has been feted in grand fashion across the globe, from an elaborate sword dance in the Saudi capital Riyadh to an intimate twilight tour of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

In July, Trump and first lady Melania Trump were Macron's guests of honor on Bastille Day, where the President spent hours surveying a parade of troops, tanks, and aircraft that rolled down (and above) the Champs-Élysées. The trip also included Trump controversially complimenting Macron's wife's figure, though photos showed the Trumps and Macrons appearing to enjoy themselves, even sharing a meal together atop the Eiffel Tower.

A White House readout from when the two leaders met at the UN in September made clear the July trip had made a strong impression on Trump: "It was one of the greatest parades I've ever seen. It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France."

Trump was so impressed that he told Macron: "We're going to have to try and top it," adding, "we're actually thinking about Fourth of July, Pennsylvania Avenue, having a really great parade to show our military strength."

Elected in May, Macron is one in a small club of leaders with less experience in office than Trump. Macron has worked to use that to his advantage, forging strong ties with the White House based on a mutual desire to change the status quo.

The pair's first meeting in Brussels was symbolized by a prolonged and awkward handshake. One senior diplomatic source with knowledge of the discussions about the visit said Trump sees Macron as a fellow disruptor who isn't afraid to break the mold and speak out bluntly and the two have established a good working relationship, despite Macron's strong criticism of Trump's announcement in June last year that the US intended to leave the Paris Climate Agreement.

Through it all, Macron's aides say he views himself as Trump's interpreter in Europe, sifting through the brash pronouncements to find places of common interest. As leaders in Berlin and London find themselves distracted by internal politics, Paris-Washington ties are enjoying renewed strength.

During an interview with BBC this weekend, Macron said Trump was "not a classical politician" and was "elected by his humoring people."

He also said he and Trump enjoyed a "very direct relationship" and speak "very regularly."

"I'm always extremely direct and frank. He is. Sometimes I manage to convince him, and sometimes I fail," Macron said on the British talk show.

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