US President Donald Trump (R) clears dandruff off French President Emmanuel Macron's jacket in the Oval Office. Photo: AFP
President Donald Trump on Tuesday made a show of flicking dandruff from the suit collar of Macron, saying it was a sign of the two leaders' “very special relationship.”
Trump made the surprise gesture as Macron, the first foreign leader to be honored with a state visit in Washington since Trump took office 15 months ago, stood at his side for a photo opportunity in the White House's Oval Office.
“We have a very special relationship, in fact I'll get that little piece of dandruff off… We have to make him perfect, he is perfect,” Trump said to a laughing Macron.
The US President pilloried the Iran nuclear deal as “insane” Tuesday and threatened “problems” if Tehran restarts controversial programs, exposing a deep rift with European allies.
Hosting French President Emmanuel Macron in the Oval Office, Trump punctured a carefully choreographed display of trans-Atlantic camaraderie with an angry tirade against the three-year old nuclear accord.
The US leader groused that the agreement — inked by the United States, Iran, Europe, Russia and China — does nothing to tackle Tehran's ballistic missiles program or support for militant groups across the Middle East.
“People know my views on the Iran deal. It was a terrible deal. It should have never ever been made,” Trump railed. “It's insane. It's ridiculous.”
The agreement, still backed by Europe, gave Iran massive sanctions relief and the guarantee of a civilian nuclear program in return for curbs on programs that could be used to develop a nuke.
Brigitte and Melania
Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron split off from their husbands on Tuesday after a colorful welcoming ceremony at the White House to visit a Paul Cezanne exhibit at the National Gallery of Art.
The American and French first ladies spent about half an hour visiting the show of 59 portraits by the 19th century French painter, the first ever dedicated to this aspect of his work.
Trump and Macron, both dressed in white, were accompanied on the tour by Mary Morton, who co-curated the exhibit and heads the museum's department of French paintings. The US first lady was wearing a wide-brimmed white hat.
“Paul Cezanne's work is a celebration,” Melania Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “It was perfect timing to have these exquisite
paintings in Washington while Mrs Macron was in town.”
Macron and Trump chatted together and with Morton and Frank Kelly, senior curator of American and British painting, as they toured the museum.
Besides the Cezanne exhibit, the White House said they viewed paintings by 19th century American artist Mary Cassatt and the “Ginevra de' Benci,” the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas.
“Everyone understands the language of art,” Melania Trump said. “The historically famous and beautiful works that currently live in the National Gallery of Art are breathtaking.”
Asked by a journalist if she was enjoying her visit to Washington, Brigitte Macron replied in English: “Very nice, thank you.”