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Trump’s abandonment of Paris climate deal looms large in Macron’s state visit

Trump is hosting the French president for the administration’s first State Dinner at the White House.

Climate change will be among things discussed between Trump and Macron.
Climate change will be among things discussed between Trump and Macron.

During President Trump’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday in the Oval Office, Trump said that the Paris climate deal would be a topic of discussion during the foreign leader’s state visit.

“We will be discussing the Iran deal, I know the president wants to speak to me about that. We’ll be discussing, probably, the Paris accord,” Trump said, turning to Macron, who nodded.

“We have not much time to do a lot of discussing,” Trump continued, “but a lot of things we’ll work out. We have got a very special relationship, I don’t imagine it’s ever been closer in the history of our two countries, and that’s a long and beautiful history.”

According to Politico’s Kelsey Tamborrino, the White House press pool later confirmed that Macron and Trump did discuss “the Paris agreement and our common challenges on the climate” during their meeting Tuesday.

Since Macron was elected nearly one year ago, the French president has been trying to position himself as the antithesis to Trump’s climate science denial. He has frequently criticized the U.S. president for not making climate change a priority — Macron hosted a climate conference in Paris (to which Trump was not invited) and even began offering U.S. climate scientists grants to come and continue their work in France.

One of Macron’s biggest criticisms has been of Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

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Standing next to Trump at the welcoming ceremony Tuesday morning, Macron said: “It is together that we will be able to act effectively for our planet. I’m not just referring to climate, but also to the oceans, to biodiversity, and to all forms of pollution. On this issue, we do not always agree as to the solutions, but in the end, such is the case in any family and in any friendship, and it is also where the fate of our children is at stake.”

This wouldn’t be the first time that Macron has tried to persuade Trump to reconsider his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The two leaders spoke last July. Macron told French media that it was a fruitful conversation — “Trump listened to me … he told me he would try to find a solution in the coming months” — but Trump was more ambivalent.

“I mean, something could happen with respect to the Paris Accord, we’ll see what happens,” Trump told news media at the time. “If it happens that’ll be wonderful. And if it doesn’t, that’ll be okay too.”


UPDATE: During the White House press conference on Tuesday afternoon Macron confirmed that the two spoke about climate change. “We know where we stand,” Macron said briefly, reiterating that France “will continue to work on major pieces including the global pact for the environment“. No mention was made of what Trump said.