A tree planted in the White House lawn by French President Emmanuel Macron along with President Donald Trump last year was meant to serve as a reminder of the “ties that bind” the two nations. French media confirmed this week the tree is now dead.
The tree was planted in April 2018 during Macron’s state visit to the United States. At the time, the two world leaders were on relatively good terms.
“100 years ago, American soldiers fought in France, in Belleau to defend our freedom,” Macron tweeted along with a video at the time. “This oak tree (my gift to @realDonaldTrump) will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us.”
100 years ago, American soldiers fought in France, in Belleau to defend our freedom. This oak tree (my gift to @realDonaldTrump) will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us. pic.twitter.com/AUdVncaKRN
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 24, 2018
By November, however, Trump abandoned the warm gestures and went on a Twitter rant against the French leader, hitting him for low approval ratings and his rejection of Trump’s use of the word “nationalism.”
By then, the friendship tree was already long gone. According to The Guardian, soon after the tree was planted for the photo op, it had to be uprooted to be put in quarantine. This is a normal procedure for foreign living organisms that arrive on U.S. soil. But a diplomatic source confirmed to Agence France-Presse this week that the tree never survived the quarantine.
What remains is a yellow patch of grass on the White House lawn and a strained relationship between the two world leaders.