President Trump will host French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House this April for the first state dinner of the Trump administration, two White House officials told Fox News.
The officials said the dinner would be held April 24, a date that has yet to be formally confirmed.
In addition to the dinner, the state visit designation means Macron will be welcomed with a showy arrival ceremony on the White House lawn, including a 21-gun salute, followed by private meetings with Trump and a joint news conference before American and French journalists.
Trump was Macron’s special guest at an annual Bastille Day celebration last year that coincided with the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entrance into World War I. Trump apparently was so inspired by the grand military parade in the heart of Paris that he later called for a similar display of U.S. military hardware in Washington later this year.
Macron, who was elected to the French presidency this past May, and Trump met several times last year and spoke by telephone as recently as this month. They first met last May in Belgium and gripped each other’s hands so tightly during an extended handshake that Trump’s knuckles appeared to turn white.
Trump was celebrated during a series of state visits as he toured Asia last November.
During the presidential campaign, Trump spoke dismissively of state dinners, a key component of a state visit. In 2015, Trump panned President Barack Obama’s decision to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping on a state visit that year.
“I would not be throwing (Xi) a dinner,” Trump said at the time. “I would get him a McDonald’s hamburger and say we’ve got to get down to work.”
Xi was among those who feted Trump last year, pouring on the pageantry as he welcomed Trump to Beijing on what the Chinese billed as a “state visit, plus.”
Not since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s has a president ended his first year in office without hosting a foreign leader for a state visit, according to the White House Historical Association.
Coolidge assumed office in 1923 after the sudden death of President Warren G. Harding, and was elected to a full term in 1924. Coolidge didn’t hold a state dinner until October 1926, for Queen Marie of Romania, according to the association.
Trump last year accepted Queen Elizabeth II’s invitation for a state visit. A date still has not been set.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.