U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron the White House on Monday at the start of a three-day state visit expected to be dominated by U.S.-European differences on the Iran nuclear deal and souring trade relations.
It will be Trump's first hosting of a state visit since he took power in January 2017. The pair will get a sense of their two countries' shared history during an evening meal on Monday night at Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, the first U.S. president and Revolutionary War commander whose alliance with France was critical to victory over the British.
The major work between them is scheduled for Tuesday during White House meetings, before Macron addresses Congress on Wednesday, the anniversary of the day that French General Charles de Gaulle addressed a Joint Session of Congress in 1960.
Trump and the 40-year-old French leader began their improbable friendship a year ago in Belgium with a jaw-clenching handshake. While other European leaders have kept a certain distance from Trump, Macron has worked hard to remain close to the U.S. president and the two leaders speak frequently by phone.
Macron is on something of a rescue mission for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Trump has vowed to scrap unless European allies strengthen it by mid-May.
The deal reached between Iran, the United States and five other world powers put curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Macron said on Fox News Sunday that it would be better to protect the Iran deal instead of get rid of it, saying there is no "Plan B" to take its place.
"Is this agreement perfect and this JCPOA a perfect thing for our relationship with Iran? No. But for nuclear — what do you have? As a better option? I don't see it," he said.