- An oak tree French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump planted together to symbolise French-American ties has died, according to French media.
- The tree, which came from a forest where 2,000 US soldiers died in WWI, was taken to quarantine a few days after being planted.
- It was never replanted and died in quarantine, according to a diplomatic source cited by French media.
- The reports of the tree’s death come as Trump’s relationship with Macron grows tense over issues such as trade, the climate, and the Iran deal.
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An oak tree that French President Emmanuel Macron gave to President Donald Trump to symbolise their nations’ friendship has died, according to French media.
The leaders planted the tree together on the South Lawn of the White House during Macron’s state visit in April.
The gift came from a forest in northern France where 2,000 US soldiers died in World War I, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
After the planting ceremony, Macron tweeted: “100 years ago, American soldiers fought in France, in Belleau to defend our freedom.
“This oak tree (my gift to @realDonaldTrump) will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us.”
100 years ago, American soldiers fought in France, in Belleau to defend our freedom. This oak tree (my gift to @realDonaldTrump) will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us. pic.twitter.com/AUdVncaKRN
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 24, 2018
But a few days later, the tree was no longer in the garden, and only a patch of yellow grass could be seen, The Guardian reported.
Gerard Araud, who was the French ambassador to the US at the time, confirmed that the oak tree had to be uprooted to be inspected in quarantine.
“It is in quarantine which is mandatory for any living organism imported to the US. It will be replanted afterwards,” he said on Twitter.
The tree then died as it underwent inspection, a diplomatic source told the French newspaper Le Monde last week. The report was confirmed by Le Figaro and AFP.
The reports of the tree’s death come amid disagreements between Trump and Macron on key issues, including trade, the climate, and the Iran deal.
Benjamin Haddad, a Europe expert at the think tank Atlantic Council, told Le Monde that tensions became apparent around the time the presidents planted the friendship tree together.
“It was during this visit to Washington that Emmanuel Macron understood that Donald Trump would not budge,” Haddad said.
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