Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

France's Macron starts trip to Australia focusing on defense

German chancellor Angela Merkel with US president Donald Trump German chancellor Angela Merkel with US president Donald Trump
Elsie Buchanan | 03 May, 2018, 10:10

A tree gifted to US President Donald Trump by French President Emmanuel Macron has disappeared from the White House.

A French official added that Trump had insisted on holding a planting photo op and that both sides knew the tree would be quarantined.

A TREE planted on the White House lawn as a symbol of friendship between the USA and France has disappeared.

A source told France's version of HuffPo that the move was the result of a U.S. Customs requirement that the tree, like many plants from overseas, go through a period of quarantine created to stop invasive insect species. According to Macron, the sapling was from Belleau Wood, the site where almost 2,000 United States soldiers were killed during the World War I battle in 1918.

Macron and Donald Trump symbolically planted the tree together knowing it would be quarantined later.

"Something of a mystery has taken root at the White House", ABC News reported.

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It was put in quarantine, according to US and French officials.

The oak sprouted at a World War I battle site that became part of U.S. Marine Corps legend.

French President Emmanuel Macron heads to Australia on Tuesday in hopes of cementing defense ties, pursuing his agenda to boost France's profile beyond Europe in a region where it maintains a string of island territories. The photographer reportedly only spotted a yellow spot on the grass where the tree once stood.

The planting ceremony prompted speculation on social media, particularly about whether the French president had been "trolling" Trump over his environmental policies and withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

But just days later, the tree was noticeably absent from the White House.

According to the news Agency Reuters, citing official sources, the tree was quickly dug up and placed in quarantine so that the parasites do not spread to other trees on the White house grounds.

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