Donald and Melania Trump host French President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte tonight at their first state dinner, Macron being one of the few European leaders who would willingly accept an invitation.
Macron seems to have found the secret to soothe the savage beast and plays Trump like a fool violin. A former investment banker, Macron is said to treat Trump like a prospective client. At their first meeting, Macron turned the tables on Trump’s uncomfortable vise-grip handshake, gritting his teeth but letting the older man know he was no pampered chump. Trump loved it, twisted jerk that he is.
Macron will go on to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday — in English — and will tour Arlington National Cemetery. Depending on the success of the event, it’s possible Congress will ask Donald to speak English at any upcoming address.
It’s Melania’s first test of heavy duty hostess duties, and she incautiously declined to hire a professional event planner. Ironically, she’ll be using the Clinton china. Tomorrow’s headlines will evaluate her success, or not.
Time reports she is serving New Orleans-style jambalaya with Carolina rice and greens from the White House garden. Those much heralded greens are collard greens planted by former First Lady Michelle Obama and a few dozen of her school student friends. Just to be clear, Miss Slovenia is serving collard greens from Michelle Obama’s garden on Clinton china, What possibly could go wrong with that!
Trump has invited no Democrats to the soirée. No media stars, either. No word if Scott Baio is invited to represent Hollywood among the 130 guests. House Speaker Paul Ryan will be there, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faked an attack of diverticulitis and lurched away. Only about three other members of Congress were invited, which means most of the guests will be lobbyists ’cause everybody knows Trump doesn’t have that many friends that aren’t under investigation.
As expected for anything Trump, “it is a break with tradition,” said Lea Berman, who was White House social secretary under former President George W. Bush and wrote the etiquette guide “Treating People Well.”
But it’s Macron who is making the biggest play. Many Western leaders can barely contain their contempt for Trump, who see him as unschooled in history, unappreciative of long-time alliances and unwise in foreign policy. “Macron has a fantastic poker face,” noted the Washington Post, which went on to describe his “charm jets.”
“The fate of the Western alliance now lies in the hands of one of history’s oddest diplomatic couples,” wrote William Drozdiak, a WaPo foreign editor who is working on a biography of Macron. “Other European leaders refer to him as the ‘Trump Whisperer’ and encourage the French leader to use his unique influence to ease friction in various transatlantic disputes.”
Macron even gave an interview to FOX news ahead of the visit. Obviously, he’s got an annotated copy of the Trump playbook. Unfortunately, Trump is so fickle that he doesn’t even keep to his own playbook.
“This visit will promote the narrative that the two men have a good relationship, but it may not make much of a difference,” Jeremy Shapiro, research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London, told Bloomberg. “A personal relationship is great, but Trump doesn’t remember it once you’ve left the room.”
Specifically, Macron is hoping to keep the United States in the no-nukes treaty with Iran.
Still, it’s an unusual relationship for Macron, a globalist, and Trump, the nationalist. Their personal lives could not be more different, either. Macron is married to a woman 25 years his senior, while Trump is married to a woman 24 years his junior. Brigitte is no doubt still steamed that Trump insulted her during their meeting in July.
“A lot of traditions are not being as closely honored as they have been in the past,” said Jeremy Bernard, social secretary to former President Barack Obama.
“It seems to be opposite of tradition but that’s their prerogative,” he added. “It certainly doesn’t add any feeling of harmony, that’s for sure.”