White House offers to assist France in Notre Dame rehabilitation

President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE on Tuesday morning offered condolences to French President Emmanuel Macron as the country deals with the aftermath of a fire that ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that the U.S. will offer "assistance in the rehabilitation of this irreplaceable symbol of Western civilization."

"The United States stands with French citizens, the city of Paris, and the millions of visitors from around the world who have sought solace in that iconic structure," Sanders said.

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"The Cathedral has served as a spiritual home for almost a millennium, and we are saddened to witness the damage to this architectural masterpiece," she added. "Notre Dame will continue to serve as a symbol of France, including its freedom of religion and democracy."

A fire broke out at the cathedral on Monday, prompting an outpouring of grief from around the world. Celebrities, world leaders and casual observers expressed their condolences as smoke billowed from the structure and its spire crumbled in the flames.

"That is a part of our growing up, it’s a part of our culture, it’s a part of our lives," Trump said at a Tax Day event in Minnesota as the fire raged. "That’s a truly great cathedral."

After originally believing that the fire would destroy the entire building, authorities later said that the cathedral had been saved from "total destruction," and that the main structure and iconic bell towers were intact. 

The Paris Fire Brigade tweeted that the main works of art within the building had been saved.

Macron has pledged that France will rebuild the cathedral, and that the country will launch a fundraising campaign. The founders of French companies Louis Vuitton and Kering have already pledged a combined 300 million euros for the rebuilding effort.

The cathedral, which was built in the 12th century, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Paris. It attracts more than 10 million visitors a year.

An official cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but authorities said it may be linked to ongoing renovations at the historic building.