Macron mystery solved: French friendship tree in quarantine

Arturo Kim
May 4, 2018

The reason for its disappearance has been answered.

The oak tree-planting ceremony was symbolic, and both leaders knew it would later be taken out and put into quarantine, an official from the French president's office said on Monday, per US law for any living object brought into the country. About 2,000 USA troops died in the June 1918 Battle of Belleau Wood, fighting a German offensive.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday said he did not know whether US President Trump would stick with a 2015 nuclear deal that many in the West see as the best hope of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

The more mischievous may have even considered the comment to possibly be a tongue-in-cheek reference to Donald Trump's visit to Paris a year ago, when he was caught telling Mr Macron's wife Brigitte that she was "in such great shape", before looking to her husband and saying "Beautiful".

Macron and Donald Trump symbolically planted the tree together knowing it would be quarantined later.

Macron, followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, visited Washington last week in the hope of persuading Trump not to reimpose sanctions on Iran before a May 12 deadline and imperil the 2015 deal but the White House has sounded unconvinced.

A pale patch of grass now covers the spot.

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"She can't even open a window at the White House", Brigitte said in conversation with Le Monde.

It was a symbolic gesture: the tree came from a northern French forest where 2,000 US Marines died during the First World War.

Now the oak sapling is gone - at least temporarily.

The French ambassador to the United States also clarified that the roots to the tree had initially been wrapped in plastic, so that it would not contaminate the ground during the ceremonial planting.

It was put in quarantine, U.S. and French officials told Reuters. On Monday, Trump and Macron posed for photos while planting the tree in front of the White House.

"It was actually a special favor from Trump to France to be able to plant the tree the day of the president's visit", the official said.

The Daily Mail, BBC News, and HuffPost France speculated that the tree may have been temporarily removed under federal rules since it was an imported plant.

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