In his third visit to Europe, US President Donald Trump arrives in Paris for a meeting with France’s President Emmanuel Macron, a day ahead of the country’s Bastille Day celebrations.
Trump will serve as guest of honor at France’s Bastille Day national military parade on the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, invoking American triumphs abroad with a dash of pageantry that could help lift a struggling presidency and position him as a strong commander-in-chief.
This year, American troops will join their French allies in the annual parade, to mark 100 years since the US intervened in World War One.
It is not every president who can resist a military parade, especially one with a bit of revolutionary fervour thrown in.
If Trump, as scheduled, holds a press conference with Macron on Thursday, it’s almost certain he will be called upon or volunteer to address the meeting and the wider issue of alleged collusion with the Russians.
When the two leaders first met ahead of a Nato summit in May, President Macron treated the US leader to a gripping handshake in front of the cameras, which he then refused to release for several long moments. He was seen as snubbing President Trump again later in the summit, when he appeared to swerve away from Mr Trump’s open arms, making the US president wait while he greeted other leaders first.
Macron, 39, came from nowhere politically and, like Trump, overturned establishment politics and got elected president. But with unexpected political dexterity, he abruptly changed the face of French politics in a way Trump, 71, has been unable to do in America, by winning a subsequent parliamentary election and injecting a mood of optimism after years of failed presidencies.