Europe News

Trump to host state visit for France's Macron in April

French President Emmanuel Macron waits for a guest during the "Choose France" summit, at the Chateau de Versailles, outside Paris, France, January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Thibault Camus/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will roll out the red carpet for French President Emmanuel Macron in late April when the White House hosts the first state visit of Trump’s presidency, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

The formal visit will include a state dinner hosted by Trump and his wife, Melania.

Trump and Macron have developed a friendly relationship over the past year, though it got off to an unusual start. The two leaders gripped hands so tightly during their first meeting that their knuckles turned white.

They also have struggled to find common ground on two major international issues: the 2015 Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal.

But in a July visit to Paris, Trump was delighted by a military parade to mark France’s annual Bastille Day holiday and the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War One, and has said Macron is “doing a terrific job in France.”

CNN first reported on Monday that Macron was expected to be hosted at Trump’s first state visit.

Trump and Macron are expected to cross paths at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later this week.

Trump, during his 2016 campaign for the presidency, had rejected the idea of holding state dinners, feeling they were an expensive waste of time.

But the president has since warmed to the idea. He played host to Chinese President Xi Jinping at an elaborate dinner last April at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Paul Simao and Sandra Maler