Biden welcomes France’s Macron for first state visit, rebukes Putin
President Biden welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House on Thursday for his first state visit since Biden took office, with the two leaders using the moment to reiterate their condemnation of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“As allies in NATO, together with our European Union and the G-7, and partners around the word, France and the United States are facing down [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s grasping ambition for conquest and Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, which has once more shattered peace on the continent of Europe,” Biden said in his remarks at the official arriving ceremony.
Macron echoed Biden’s comments, saying that as war returns to Europe from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “we need to become brothers in arms once more.”
The ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House marked the beginning of Macron’s state visit, with meetings planned throughout the day Thursday.
Biden, referring to Macron next to him, said, “as my friend and I were talking, France is our oldest ally, our unwavering partner, and freedom’s cause.”
“Stalwart friends in times of triumph and of trial, France and the United States will meet the future just as we always have, confident in our shared compacity, sustained by the strength of our shared values, and undaunted by any challenge that lies ahead,” Biden added.
The president said France and the U.S. are defending human rights and democracy, proving around the world that “democracy delivers,” and also working together to tackle the climate crisis.
“Our history has been shaped by the courage of the women and men who crossed the Atlantic, carrying within their hearts, the flame of liberty. Today, that flame burns more brightly than ever and the alliance between our two nations remains essential to our mutual defense,” the president said.
Biden also acknowledged that Thursday is World’s AIDS Day and he reaffirmed the U.S. and France’s shared commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
The leaders and their wives greeted one another with hugs outside the White House on Thursday morning and posed for a photograph. The four then greeted a line of dignitaries, including Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
The national anthem of France played on the South Lawn, followed by the national anthem of the United States. The two presidents stood and listened and when the American anthem came on, Biden put his hand over his heart.
Macron visited NASA headquarters with Harris on Wednesday and had dinner with Biden and first lady Jill Biden at Fiola Mare in Georgetown, during which Biden shared a photograph of the two presidents eating ice cream at their table with the caption, “welcoming some friends to town.”
As the official gift, the Bidens gave the Macrons a custom mirror made of fallen wood from the White House grounds by an American furniture maker, which is a reproduction of a mirror that hangs in the West Wing.
Biden also gifted Macron a custom vinyl record collection of great American musicians and an archival facsimile print of Thomas Edison’s 1877 Patent of the American Phonograph. The first lady gifted French first lady Brigitte Macron a gold and Emerald pendant necklace designed by a French-American designer.
Macron, upon arrival, gifted Biden a vinyl and CD of the original soundtrack of Claude Lelouch’s film “Un Homme et une Femme,” which is the film Biden and the first lady went to see on their first date.
Additionally, he gave the president a 2012 cup from the house Christofle, which is in tribute to the era when Christofle crossed the Atlantic aboard the ship Normandie and symbolizes the first links between France and the U.S. Also, he gave him a sweater from the House Saint Games and a watch from LIP Horlogerie.
Macron will gift Jill Biden “Madame Bovary,” by Gustave Flaubert, as well as “The Plague, The Fall, Exile and the Kingdom, and Selected Essays”, by Albert Camus. He will also gift Harris a model of the Ariane 5 rocket.
Others in attendance at the arrival ceremony were dignitaries, officials and students from Rochambeau International French School, DCPS School Without Walls of Washington, D.C., and DCPS Jackson Reed High School.
Later in the morning, Biden and Macron will hold a bilateral meeting followed by a joint press conference. In the evening, the Bidens will host the Macrons for a state dinner, along with Harris and Emhoff.
Macron was also the first state visit of the Trump administration and former French President Francois Hollande was the first state visit of former President Obama’s second term.
Biden and Macron have met several times since the president took office took office and regularly get together during international summits, most recently at the Group of 20 summit in Bali earlier this month. They spoke one-on-one meeting for 45 minutes on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
Updated: 10:30 a.m.
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