French President Emmanuel Macron is Washington-bound this week, becoming the first leader invited for a formal state visit with President Donald Trump.
Macron will be in Washington for three days. Over the course of his visit, he will have a private dinner with Trump and wife Melania at Mount Vernon on Monday, attend a state dinner on Tuesday, and address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. The speech on Capitol Hill is the first made by a French leader in a decade and marks the anniversary of French General Charles de Gaulle’s own address in 1960.
Among the matters to be discussed include the Iran nuclear deal. Macron will make the case, on behalf of Europe, for the U.S. remaining in the Joint Commission Plan of Action—suggesting that a failure to do so would have a negative impact on U.S.-E.U. relations. Macron also reportedly plans to call for continued U.S. military intervention in Syria, and he’s expected to more broadly discuss issues of trade and counter-terrorism.
Macron has increasingly been seen as a Trump ‘whisperer’ of sorts, developing a closer relationship with the U.S. president than other world leaders. He has used a sustained charm offensive in an attempt to sway Trump and bolster his own goal of establishing his and France’s place in the global order.
For now, he has little to show for this effort. Many expect this week’s visit to be largely symbolic; in fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has her own U.S. visit planned later in the week—a possible sign that the European leader will not leave the negotiating to her French counterpart.