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President Trump Welcomes French President To The White House

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte to the White House on Monday ahead of their formal state visit on Tuesday.

The couples planted a tree on the White House grounds before they depart for a tour and dinner at Mount Vernon, President George Washington's residence in Virginia. 

Along with their wives, the two leaders walked across the South Lawn to plant the sapling, a gift from Macron. The oak sapling was taken from the scene of a World War One battle, where the Marine Corps repelled a German offensive in the final year of the war.

President Trump took a few questions. Asked about Sen. Rand Paul's announcement that he would vote to confirm Mike Pompeo as the next secretary of state, Mr. Trump replied, "I said he'd never let us down. He's a good man".

The Trumps are hosting the Macrons for the administration's first state visit and formal dinner Tuesday evening. Mr. Trump marked his first year in office without receiving a foreign leader on an official state visit. The first lady tweeted a video on Monday showing a sneak peek into the table arrangements and entree selections for the evening's dinner portion. 

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the U.S. sees France as a "friend and ally." 

"We're looking forward to a great state visit, and we think this will help continuing to build on that relationship," added Sanders. 

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