White House to Host Macron in Biden’s First State Visit
WASHINGTON — The White House announced on Monday that it would host President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte Macron, in December in the first state visit of President Biden’s administration.
The visit, which is scheduled for Dec. 1, comes as both leaders have sought to shore up cooperation between the United States and Europe amid several global crises, in particular Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ripple effects it has caused across global markets.
“We work closely with France on the full range of global challenges, as you all know, including the war in Ukraine,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Monday. “It is for these reasons that the president and first lady thought it was important to welcome this close and valued partner to the White House for their first state visit.”
“It will underscore the deep and enduring relationship between the United States and France, our oldest ally,” she said.
The visit symbolizes something of a return to traditional diplomatic activities for Mr. Biden, especially after the White House regularly postponed trips and whittled down meetings with foreign leaders for many of the early months of his presidency because of the pandemic.
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“Covid certainly has delayed many of the in-person events a president traditionally hosts at the White House,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.
But the White House announcement indicated that the visit, which will include a state dinner, will feature the usual pomp and pageantry of traditional state visits, through which the White House celebrates ties with its closest allies.
For Mr. Macron, it may be a more familiar affair.
In 2018, Mr. Macron was also the first world leader to be invited for a state dinner by President Donald J. Trump, attending a ceremony that included a performance by the Washington National Opera and wine produced through an American and French viticulture collaboration. Mr. Macron won a second term as France’s president in April and will return for his second state visit surrounded by a new administration.
The visit also marks a recovery in relations between Paris and Washington after a low point last year, when it was revealed that the United States had secretly pursued plans to help Australia build nuclear submarines, effectively undermining a 50-year, $66 billion deal France had cut to supply the Australian government with its own conventional submarines.
Mr. Macron and other top French officials were incensed by the secret negotiations, going as far as to briefly recall French ambassadors from both the United States and Australia. Mr. Biden later sought to repair relations, meeting with Mr. Macron one on one and describing the United States’ handling of the negotiations as “clumsy.”
In recent weeks, however, both Mr. Biden and Mr. Macron have spoken about the need to coordinate their activities in response to threats to Western democracies.
At the U.N. General Assembly last week, both men condemned President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for disrupting the international order with its war, which has reverberated beyond Ukraine by sending energy prices in Europe skyrocketing before winter.
Since the war began, Mr. Macron has repeatedly sought to negotiate with Mr. Putin to mediate the conflict, while Mr. Biden has consistently urged lawmakers in the United States to continue approving regular military aid packages for Ukraine in an attempt to tip the balance of the war.
State visits traditionally offer an opportunity for cabinet secretaries and senior lawmakers to mingle with their counterparts, and the visit is also expected to offer an opportunity for discussions on climate and trade policy.