Remember last week—or maybe 400 years ago, long before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner—when French President Emmanuel Macron came over for the very first state dinner of the Trump administration? And remember how Donald Trump and Macron officially celebrated their friendship not by performing “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” like I suggested, but by planting a tree? Well, that tree has disappeared!
Recent photos of the exact spot Trump and Macron shoveled some dirt around while their respective wives watched show no sign of the oak sapling, which was taken from Belleau Wood in northern France, where thousands of US Marines lost their lives during World War I. That’s right, the symbol of Franco-American solidarity, honoring the loss of life during a battle a century ago, was nowhere to be found. Here’s a picture of where the tree used to be.
As Reuters reported, it’s because the tree has parasites that could spread to the rest of the White House property and needed to be quarantined:
“It was actually a special favor from Trump to France to be able to plant the tree the day of the president’s visit,” an official from Macron’s office said.
“Since then, it has returned to quarantine and will soon be replanted in the White House gardens,” the official said, adding: “Don’t worry, the tree is doing very well.”
So it appears the American and French leaders faked it—planting a pest-ridden tree that wasn’t ready to be planted and could have infected other plants just for show. It’s honestly one of the more excruciatingly painful ironies of the Trump administration.