Presidents Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron just didn’t want to let one another go.
The young, globalist French leader and the “America First” commander-in-chief, who are opposites in many ways, put on an extravagant show of friendship Friday on Bastille Day on the Champs-Élysées.
The highlight of a chummy two-day visit was an extraordinary, on-the-walk handshake across the cobblestones, that included multiple mutual pats on the back of the hand and shoulder taps. At one point, the 30-second embrace drew in Macron’s wife, Brigitte, leaving first lady Melania Trump standing slightly awkwardly to the side.
The unusual show of personal chemistry in Paris might just mean Macron, 39, and Trump, 71, just got along famously.
But Macron also clearly has a plan by making such an effusive show of friendship toward Trump, even though the US leader is unpopular in Europe and dismayed the French government by pulling out of the Paris climate accord.
It reflects the French leader’s desire to ensure the United States does not totally divorce itself from the rest of the West.
And the charm offensive is the latest sign that some world leaders think the best way to get to Trump is not to rebuke or lecture him, but to flatter him and show him respect.
So France laid on sumptuous gastronomy, in a restaurant billed as “infused with dreams and magic” inside the Eiffel Tower. They provided a tour of Napoleon’s tomb and made Trump guest of honor at the Bastille Day parade with marching bands, tanks and flyovers.
On Friday, the fast growing bond between Macron and Trump was on display in a prolonged handshake, as each man patted the other’s shoulders at the end of the day’s celebrations.
As he wrapped up his trip, Trump showed how much he appreciated the hospitality, tweeting a picture of he and Macron, heads close together, deep in conversation as they watched the parade with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.
Rinat Akhmetshin told AP news agency he went to the meeting at which Donald Trump Jr was promised Kremlin-linked material about Hillary Clinton.
“I never thought this would be such a big deal, to be honest,” Mr Akhmetshin told the AP.
Congress is asking the president’s son to publicly testify about the meeting.
Emails show Mr Trump Jr, together with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman Paul Manafort, met Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had reported ties to the Russian government, on 9 June 2016.
Emails show the encounter was arranged under the premise that Ms Veselnitskaya would share damaging information about Mrs Clinton, Mr Trump’s Democratic party rival for the White House.
Mr Trump Jr said it later became apparent that Ms Veselnitskaya wanted to discuss a suspended programme for Americans to adopt Russian children.
Congressional and federal investigators are scrutinising alleged Russian meddling in the US election.
Since he was elected, President Trump has been dogged by allegations that Russia tried to sabotage Mrs Clinton’s campaign to help him win.