Macron invited Trump during a telephone call Tuesday in which the two leaders discussed the threat of a new chemical weapons attack in Syria. On Monday night, the White House issued an ominous warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, pledging that his regime would pay a “heavy price” if it carried out another chemical attack this year.
Macron, 39, and Trump, 71, could not be more different, and their relationship thus far has been rocky. Macron has become a prominent spokesman for political moderates around the world and has not hesitated to publicly challenge Trump — or to try to dominate their six-second handshake as television cameras recorded their physical struggle for power.
During the French election, Trump declined to formally endorse a candidate but seemed to prefer Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front. Macron's landslide election in May seemed to blunt the nationalist populism movement that had been credited with putting Trump in the White House.
When Trump announced earlier this month that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate change accord, Macron called the decision “an actual mistake, both for the United States and for the world” and offered a refuge to American “scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the president of the United States.” Macron also said that while France would continue to work with the United States on diplomatic issues, the Paris accord could not be renegotiated, as Trump had claimed. In widely circulated remarks, Macron concluded by saying in English: “Make our planet great again.”