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Gilt, guns, flattery: Macron woos Trump

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July 14, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron has laid on the charm for Donald Trump.

With a military parade on the Champs-Elysees and a gilded tour of France's most storied monuments, French President Emmanuel Macron has laid on the charm as he positioned himself as the indispensable intermediary between Europe and Donald Trump.

The Bastille Day demonstration on Friday capped two days of Parisian glitz for Trump and his wife, who were Macron's guests of honour in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of America's entry into World War I.

Thanking the US for the decision that turned the tide of a devastating conflict, Macron said the Trumps' presence on France's national holiday "is the sign of a friendship across the ages."

Macron made a point of detailing both the long history of ties between France and America and the areas where he and Trump disagree. But he made clear it was in the spirit of bluntness with a friend and ally, even offering a conspiratorial wink during a joint news conference.

The two-day visit featured a personal tour of the golden-domed Invalides monument and a private dinner high in the Eiffel Tower prepared by chef Alain Ducasse.

Trump had front-row seats at the reviewing stand on Friday, applauding during the hours-long parade carried out under blue skies as various French military units marched past.

The flattering French visit gave Trump a respite from his troubles at home, and he amended the opinion of a friend he calls Jim, who believes that "Paris isn't Paris any longer" because of the blight of Islamic extremism.

Asked about Jim's criticisms Thursday, Trump deflected and said Paris was "going to be just fine" because France now has a "great" and "tough" president.

At Macron and Trump's first encounter in May, the two shared a white-knuckle handshake that the French president said was intended to show he was no pushover.

As Friday's visit ended, the men embraced and then the arm wrestling seemed to begin anew. As Trump walked to his motorcade, he gripped Macron's hand firmly, pulling the smaller man off-balance and held fast as they walked together toward their wives.

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