- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 24, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the White House visit of French President Emmanuel Macron (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says U.S. troops will come home from Syria, but he wants to leave a “strong and lasting footprint” in the region.

Trump’s comment signaled a softening in tone. Trump was insisting just a few weeks ago that he wanted to pull out U.S. troops and leave the job of rebuilding Syria to others in the region.

Asked about his timeline for bringing the troops home, Trump reiterated his desire to exit Syria. But he also said that he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed that neither of them wants to give Iran more of an opening in the region.

Trump said “we’ll see what happens but we’re going to be coming home relatively soon.”

He commented during a White House news conference Tuesday with Macron, who is on a state visit to the U.S.


1:15 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he’s confident about the future of his country’s trading relationship with the U.S. He says it’s good when allies work together.

Macron says in a joint news conference with President Donald Trump that trade is balanced between the two countries and he’s suggesting all nations follow the rules of the World Trade Organization.

The French president has been critical of Trump’s protectionist moves on trade in recent weeks and has called upon the U.S. to exempt European nations from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.


1 p.m.

President Donald Trump is thanking French President Emmanuel Macron for his partnership on the recent missile strikes against chemical weapons in Syria and the fight against terrorism.

Trump says at a joint White House news conference that he will soon be meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He says the U.S. won’t “repeat the mistakes of past administrations” and will pressure the North Korean regime.

Macron is pointing to the need for the Iran nuclear deal. He says he wants to work on a new deal in the weeks and months ahead.

Macron says any new agreement would need to block any nuclear activity in Iran through 2025, cease any uranium activity and put an end to the country’s ballistic missiles program.


12:16 p.m.

A pair of designers is responsible for Melania Trump’s white skirt suit and matching hat.

The first lady’s office says Michael Kors designed the two-piece suit that Mrs. Trump wore for Tuesday’s White House arrival ceremony for President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte.

Mrs. Trump also wore the suit on an outing to the National Gallery of Art in Washington with Mrs. Macron.

The first lady topped her outfit with a broad-brimmed white hat designed by Herve Pierre. Pierre designed the first lady’s inaugural ball gown.

The white hat quickly became the talk of the town, as well as on Twitter. Mrs. Trump typically doesn’t wear hats.

Still to come is Tuesday night’s piece de resistance: the first lady’s state dinner gown.


10:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is warning that if Iran restarts its nuclear program it “will have bigger problems than they have ever had before.”

Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will be discussing the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday during their meetings at the White House.

Macron wants Trump to maintain the deal. Trump is undecided but has called it “a terrible deal.”

Though Trump has warmly welcomed Macron to Washington, the two have disagreements to sort through, including Trump’s decision to leave the multinational Paris climate change agreement.

While with Macron, Trump refused to answer a reporter’s question as to whether he is considering a pardon for his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, whose office was raided by the FBI. Trump called it “a stupid question.”

Cohen has not been charged.


9:54 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is highlighting the close ties between his nation and the United States during his visit to the White House.

Macron, standing alongside President Donald Trump Tuesday, said “America represents endless possibilities for my country.”

He also told Trump that “France shares with your country an ideal of freedom and peace.”

Macron touted how the French fought alongside George Washington during the American Revolution, which laid the blueprint for cooperation between the nations.

The French president, who enjoys a closer relationship with Trump than many of his European peers, said that France works alongside the U.S. on challenges like terrorism, North Korea and Iran.

He is expected to lobby Trump to maintain the Iran nuclear deal and reconsider the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.


9:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is sending prayers to the Bush family and wishing former President George H.W. Bush a “speedy recovery.”

Trump is recognizing the former president as he greets French President Emmanuel Macron on the South Lawn of the White House.

Bush has been hospitalized in Houston with an infection, just days after attending the funeral of his wife, Barbara Bush.

Trump is also sending the nation’s sympathies to the Canadian people following the “horrendous tragedy” in Toronto.

A driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk in Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring 15 others. Trump says the nation’s hearts are with the grieving families in Canada.


9:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the “wonderful friendship” he has developed with French President Emmanuel Macron is a testament to two nations’ enduring alliance.

Trump is thanking Macron for his “steadfast partnership” in responding to the recent chemical attack in Syria.

The president is speaking at an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.

Trump and Macron are meeting Tuesday on a number of issues, including the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the crisis in Syria.

The two leaders are holding a joint news conference later in the morning and then Macron will be honored with Trump’s first state dinner.


9 a.m.

President Donald Trump is welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House in a formal arrival ceremony.

The president and first lady are greeting Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, on rolled-out red carpet on the South Lawn.

The arrival is heavy on pomp, with nearly 500 U.S. service-members from all five military branches participating in the ceremonial welcome, which includes a “Review of the Troops.”

Vice President Mike Pence and several members of Trump’s Cabinet, lawmakers, and military families are in attendance. The audience includes students from the Maya Angelou French Immersion School in Temple Hills, Maryland.

The two leaders are spending the morning in meetings and then will hold a joint news conference. On Tuesday night, Macron will be feted at Trump’s first state dinner.


12:50 a.m.

A sit-down between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron followed by a joint news conference highlight the business portion of the French leader’s second day in Washington.

The pageantry of Macron’s official state visit, the first of the Trump presidency, comes Tuesday night with a lavish state dinner at the White House. About 150 guests are expected to dine on rack of lamb and nectarine tart and enjoy an after-dinner performance by the Washington National Opera.

Monday night was more relaxed, featuring a helicopter tour of Washington landmarks and a trip to the Potomac River home of George Washington for dinner.

Pomp and ceremony aside, Trump and Macron disagree on some fundamental issues. A prime dividing point is the multinational Iran nuclear deal, which Trump wants to abandon.

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