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Donald Trump and his entourage touched down in Paris Thursday morning, on the invitation of French president Emmanuel Macron, to attend Bastille Day celebrations the following day. At first glance, the two are seemingly near opposites, but recent developments bely a chummier relationship than observers had originally expected. Macron appears on the verge of becoming Trump’s number one international buddy.
Initially, the invitation to the U.S. president to attend the French national day struck many as another trollish publicity stunt by Macron, the occupant of Elysée Palace who once locked Trump in a death-grip handshake. A May survey found over 80 percent of Frenchmen disapprove of the New York business mogul. And the Washington Post pointed out Wednesday that Trump has a long recent history of rebarbative remarks about Paris (complete with references to a presidential friend, “ Jim ,” who may or may not actually exist).
“Trump’s visit. .. has stirred some controversies in France. The American president has a terrible reputation here, to say the least,” says Cecile Alduy of Stanford. “In France, Donald Trump is the most unpopular U.S. president ever and hosting him on such a symbolic day exposes the French president to savage criticism,” adds Vincent Michelot of Sciences Po.