13 Julio 2017 16:47
The pair didn't exactly get off to a flying start...By Simon Dumont
After clashes over climate change and a bizarrely tense hand-off led quite literally to a shakey start, it looks as though presidential debutants Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron have managed to strike common ground on a visit to Paris.
Macron treated Trump to a fairytale welcome when him and his wife, Melania, arrived at the prestigious Hôtel National des Invalides, which included heavily-uniformed men atop horses and some markedly less fraught physical contact, as the French President gave Trump a friendly pat on the back to point him in the right direction.
This perhaps is less significant than it initially seems though, given the practically universal enjoyability of mooching around the sights of Paris, eating lobster at the top of the Eiffel Tower and all those other presidential perks.
All of this seems somewhat unprecedented after the consistent tongue-lashings Macron was handing Trump over his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord at last week's G20 summit, where the fresh-faced French leader appeared all too keen to rain on Trump's parade, rather than put on one especially for him.
However, when considering some of the similarities between the two recently anointed and, in some ways, unlikely presidents in their own ways, maybe the flip-flopping from macho posturing to lads on tour should not come as such a shock.
Trump's background as a property mogul and Macron's investment banking past belie a fundamental resemblance between the two: they are businessmen first, politicians second. Although Trump may represent a swing towards right-wing populism in America, whilst Macron was elected for the opposite reason almost by default, both men view politics as a currency to be exchanged at the hands of commerce.
[caption id="attachment_4906" align="aligncenter" width="452"] (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)[/caption]
The political game is unfamiliar territory for Trump and Macron, but both realise that beyond all the violent hand squeezing and verbal abuse, deals need to be done. Crucially though, whilst Trump has fuelled his rise to power with ideologically-charged and often offensive political rants, Macron has managed to seize power by representing no real political stance at all. With such a rapid thaw in relations between the two seemingly led by Macron, his business instincts are showing that he is maybe a less benign choice than many assumed.
Is this the beginning of business as usual for Macron and Trump?