President Donald Trump will fly to France Wednesday for a short visit to celebrate Bastille Day as France’s guest of honor.
The president will stay in France until after the parade Friday and will embark on the trip alongside his wife Melania and top aides including chief of staff Reince Priebus and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. He is the first president to celebrate the holiday in France since 1989.
Just as recently as February, President Trump said, “Paris isn’t Paris any longer” in reference to the terrorist attacks plaguing the City of Lights. He said on the campaign trail that the city had become “so, so, so out of control, so dangerous.”
A senior administration official told reporters Thursday that while the relationship between President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron — who was supported by former President Barack Obama — is in its early stages, so far it is “a very, very good one.”
Macron and Trump will meet on Thursday to discuss Syria and counter terrorism, according to the official who added: “We also anticipate the two presidents, in the introductory one-on-one meeting, will also share perspectives from the recent G20 meeting.”
The two presidents will also have dinner together along with their wives. The Bastille Day celebration on Friday marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into France during World War I.
Bastille Day features a prominent military parade on Paris’ Champs Elysees, which, for the first time since 1917, will have American participants this year. This will mark Trump’s third foreign trip, and he faced intense protests during his recent visit to the G20 in Hamburg, an event that usually features aggressive demonstrations.
An administration official told reporters that it is “always possible” that there will be protests, “but President Macron has indicated he doesn’t expect to see anything of particular note on this, certainly nothing like we see at all the G20 events.”