-Anietie Udobit,Agency reports
US President and wife Melania Trump arrived in Paris just after 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, beginning his second European trip in two weeks. The visit was set in motion by a call Mr. Macron had made to discuss Syria, in which he invited Mr. Trump to Bastille Day celebrations on July 14. The president and the first lady, Melania Trump, landed at Paris Orly Airport on Air Force One to the reception of a 10-car motorcade.
Trump 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.
For Mr. Macron, who took office in May, the visit is a chance to establish himself, if only by default, as Mr. Trump’s first point of contact in Western Europe, at a time when Britain is distracted by its plans to leave the European Union, and Germany is focused on national elections in the fall.
It is an unlikely partnership, given Mr. Trump’s stated admiration for Marine Le Pen, the far-right populist whom Mr. Macron defeated in May, and the leaders’ radically different world views. Mr. Macron is a pro-European technocrat who admires Silicon Valley, and Mr. Trump an America-first nationalist who is skeptical of multilateral institutions like the European Union.
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 Mrs. Trump, 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.”
Mr. and Mrs. Trump were feted with a welcome ceremony that included more than two-dozen horses carrying men in uniforms. Mr. Trump and Mr. Macron strolled through the expansive courtyard, a soldier carrying a sword behind them. At one point, Mr. Macron put his right hand on Mr. Trump’s back as he used his left hand to point to a columned facade.
Later, they were scheduled to have a closed-door meeting at the Élysée, the presidential palace, followed by 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, considering Mr. Trump’s fondness for ketchup-doused steak and cheeseburgers rather than gourmet foods.
Mr. Trump has been assured a premium spot at the parade on Friday, before he returns to the United States midday.