NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump, offering more words of praise for French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, said on Monday he was considering staging a July 4 U.S. military parade in Washington inspired by the one he saw as Macron’s guest in Paris.
Of all the leaders gathered in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly, Trump is arguably closest to Macron, despite their differences in age and political philosophy.
Trump, 71, and Macron, 39, who both took office this year as political outsiders, got off to an awkward start with a now-famous handshake in May during they which they gripped each other’s right hand so firmly their knuckles turned white.
But their relationship has since grown close, highlighted by Trump’s visit to Paris in July where they held talks and watched a military parade to mark France’s annual Bastille Day holiday and the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War One.
When the two men met on Monday at the Palace Hotel in New York on the sidelines of U.N. summitry, they exchanged another strong handshake and spoke warmly about each other.
“He’s doing a terrific job in France,” Trump said of Macron, adding: “He’s respected by the French people and I can tell you he is respected by the people of the United States.”
Seated beside the U.S. president, Macron said: “The strength that unites our relationship is that we say everything. That doesn’t mean we agree on everything, but we do agree on a lot of things.”
Trump said he was so impressed by the military parade in France that he would like to recreate it in Washington.
“To a large extent because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4 in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue,” he told reporters. “We’re actually looking into it.”
The U.S. capital has held large military displays to mark significant occasions, including victories in war, but rolling tanks and marching troops down Pennsylvania Avenue are not typically done on the U.S. Independence Day holiday.
The two leaders later held talks, in which a U.S. official said the Republican president reiterated that he believed both the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated under his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, were deeply flawed.
Trump has vowed to withdraw from the climate agreement without a renegotiation more favorable to Washington, a step for which the international community has little appetite.
Reporting by Steve Holland and John Irish; Editing by Peter Cooney