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They're Polar Opposites, but Macron Is 'Trump Whisperer'

French president may have more at risk as he visits the White House
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2018 11:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump has a busy week on the diplomacy front, starting with a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron and ending with another by Germany's Angela Merkel. Macron will be at the White House Monday and Tuesday in the first state visit by a foreign leader hosted by Trump, and all eyes will be on the interaction between the two, given their surprisingly warm relations in previous meetings. Coverage:

  • Different styles: The French president "is a suave globalist who is passionate about global warming, the Syrian civil war and the European Union," writes Geg Ip at the Wall Street Journal. Trump, on the other hand, "is a brash nationalist contemptuous of global institutions and wary of foreign entanglements." But the two also have fundamental things in common, including that they are relative political newcomers.
  • And yet: "Almost alone among Europe’s leaders, Mr. Macron has struck an apparent rapport with the mercurial American president, who has taken pride in testing, even alienating, some of the United States’ oldest and truest allies," write Alissa Rubin and Adam Nossiter in the New York Times. The analysis sees this rapport as a gamble by Macron, which so far has not paid off in much of substance.

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  • Same theme: An analysis at the Economist also sees the meeting as potentially risky for the French leader. Currently, he "may look like the smartest European handler of the tricky American president," according to the piece. "In the longer run, though, if he cannot secure tangible return for his efforts, he will run the risk of looking naive, or foolish, or both."
  • That handshake: A Guardian piece sees Macron as the "Trump whisperer," while CNN refers to their "bromance." Both stories look back at the pair's famous handshake at their first meeting, when things seemingly got off to a rocky start between them.
  • The big issue: Iran will be the paramount issue, reports Bloomberg. Macron will be urging Trump not to abandon the nuclear deal ahead of a key May 12 deadline, when Trump must decide whether to restore economic sanctions on Tehran. Merkel will keep up the theme when she's at the White House on Friday, and Britain's Theresa May has been speaking frequently to Trump on the phone about it. “This will be a tag-team effort,” says Barbara Slavin of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council.
  • Other tests: NPR notes that Syria—France does not want Trump to withdraw US forces—and trade issues also will test what one White House official describes as a "good working relationship" between the two men.
(Read more Emmanuel Macron stories.)

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