Driving the DayPresident Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcome French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Mrs. Brigitte Macron, to Washington today. The First Couples will visit Mount Vernon tonight before France’s official State Visit begins tomorrow.
An inside look at hosting a State VisitState Dinners with foreign leaders date back to 1874. When King David Kalakaua of the Kingdom of Hawaii (later annexed by the United States) visited Washington that year, there was no guide for how President Ulysses S. Grant should welcome him. No matter how the visit went, it would set a precedent.
The result was a tradition that continues to this day. President Trump hosts the first official State Visit of his Administration when President Macron and Mrs. Macron of France come to the White House. While President Trump has hosted numerous foreign leaders, tomorrow will mark the first ceremonial State Visit among them.
State Visits are intricately planned to show respect for a visiting leader. The end goal of such events is practical. Just as negotiations over trade drove King Kalakaua to the White House nearly a century and a half ago, better trade deals will be a fixture of the conversations between Presidents Trump and Macron this week.