French President Emmanuel Macron promised to send a new oak to President Donald Trump after the tree he gave him during last year’s state visit to the United States died. The presidents, along with their wives, planted the tree last year before they departed for a tour and dinner at Mount Vernon, President George Washington’s residence in Virginia.
In an interview broadcast Tuesday evening by Swiss television RTS, Macron said the death of the tree shouldn’t be read as a indication of the up-and-down relationship between France and the United States.
“It’s no big drama,” Macron said. “The symbol was to plant it together.”
The oak died during the quarantine it was put in just after being symbolically planted by Macron and Trump in the White House’s gardens. The quarantine is considered a safety measure, like other foreign plants or animals brought into U.S. territory. A French official said Mr. Trump insisted on holding a symbolic planting ceremony despite the quarantine requirement.
Macron said he will send another oak from the Belleau Wood in northern France, where more than 1,800 American soldiers died in a key World War I battle in 1918.