President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron planted a French oak tree, which was intended to be a symbol of their enduring friendship; however, ironically enough, the tree has died, reports say.
AFP cited a diplomatic source, informing that the tree had died in quarantine. Newsweek reached out to the White House for comments, but did not acquire any additional information.
Eyebrows had already been raised over what had become of the tree after it disappeared from the White House lawn almost as soon as it had been planted. Just days earlier, the U.S. and French presidents had appeared with their wives, Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron, on a spring day to plant the sapling with golden-colored shovels.
The tree invoked the memory of the United States’ sacrifice during World War I. The oak tree was transported to Washington from a northern French forest where 2,000 U.S. Marines perished.
“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,” President Macron tweeted at the time.
After the planting, Le Figaro reported, a yellow spot could be seen in photographs where the symbolic tree had been. In response to the queries, Gerard Araud, then the French ambassador to America, explained the tree’s absence and promised it would be returned. “It is a quarantine which is mandatory for any living organism imported into the U.S.,” he wrote on Twitter.
Relations between Washington and Paris have frayed over the last year, particularly over the countries’ opposing stances on Iran and the future of the European Union. Remembering the United States’ sacrifice in France during World War II last week Macron appeared to chide the president over his isolationist tendencies.
“We know what we owe to the United States of America. The United States of America, dear Donald Trump, dear president, which is never greater than when it is fighting for the freedom of others,” Macron said on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing in France.
“The United States of America, that is never greater than when it shows its loyalty to the universal values that the Founding Fathers defended when, nearly two and half centuries ago, France came to support its independence,” the French president added.
Twitter has had fun with the allegorical nature of the story. “Seems about right symbology wise,” wrote one Twitter user. Another, in French, heaped metaphor upon metaphor. “It wasn’t the manure that was missing,” they posited.