- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 24, 2018

President Trump palled around Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Oval Office, saying that reports of their close friendship was not “fake news.”

“Finally. It’s not fake news,” Mr. Trump told reporters.

Mr. Trump joked that his French visitor had dandruff on his dark suit jacket and brushed Mr. Macron’s shoulder and lapel.

“We have to make him perfect. He is perfect,” said Mr. Trump, as Mr. Macron smiled at his host.

The jovial exchange came as the two men sat down for a serious policy discussion as part of the administration’s first state visit that includes a series of public events and a state dinner later Tuesday.

Mr. Macron said that their close relationship allowed them to tackle difficult subjects, including where they don’t see eye to eye such as with the Iran nuclear deal.

Mr. Trump long opposed the Obama-era deal that lifted tough international sanctions on Iran and included a U.S. payment of about $1.7 billion in exchange for Iran suspending its nuclear weapon program.

The president has signaled that he could pull out of the deal as soon as next month.

“It was a terrible deal. It should have never ever been made,” Mr. Trump told reporters gathered for the opening of the Oval Office meeting. “It is insane. It is ridiculous. It should never have been made. But we will be talking about it.”

Mr. Macron has said he wants to convince Mr. Trump not to pull out of the deal, arguing that there is no “Plan B” to replace it.

France was one of the six countries that made the deal with Iran.

In the Oval Office, the French president said that he wanted to discuss Iran as part of the security concerns across the entire region.

“On Iran, we will look at it in a wider regional context, for example there’s Syria and the situation in the whole region,” he said. “We have a common objective, we want to make sure there’s no escalation and no nuclear proliferation in the region. We now need to find the right path forward.”

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