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French President Gives Speech to Congress — Receives Standing Ovation from Democrats

On April 25, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, addressed the United States Congress. In his speech, he clearly criticized the Trump Administration’s agenda, receiving a standing ovation and cheers from Democrats.

Before a full House and Senate as well as the Trump cabinet, the French president outlined his vision of a global future, which appeared directly opposite of what the Trump Administration has laid out thus far. Macron called for a stronger partnership between France and America, rebuking Trump’s nationalist diplomacy.

Macron also urged lawmakers to support the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump has wavered on in the past, and, to the cheers of Democrats in the room, he spoke extensively on the importance of America reentering the Paris climate agreement that Trump had pulled out of in June of 2017, underlining the idea that climate change was rooted in science and its denial was rooted in “ignorance.”

Photo courtesy of Popsugar

The United States is currently the only country to be opposed to the accord, which aims at reducing the amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere — a supposed environmental and security threat according to Macron. “By polluting the oceans, not mitigating CO2 emissions and destroying our biodiversity — we are killing our planet,” Macron said in his speech. “Let us face it. There is no planet B.”

Macron even went as far as to tackle the growing international issue of fake news, yet the French president defined it as misleading information that threatened democracy, coming in sharp contrast to Trump’s definition of it — anything he doesn’t agree with. After the French president’s election, he even promised to introduce a law to ban fake news during elections, which has received both praise and criticism from Europeans.

During the president’s rousing speech, many lawmakers leapt to their feet to cheer, whoop, and holler in support. Vox even noted the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Joe Crowley (New York) shouting “Vive la France!” which translates to “Long live France.”

Gif courtesy of Tenor

Crowley later tweeted in support of President Macron’s invigorating and triumphant speech, writing: “President [Macron’s] speech today showed more leadership than any of the addresses [Trump] has given in a year and a half.”

Despite the stark contrasts between the French and American presidents’ vision of our political future, the two remain close. Macron gifted Trump a European sessile oak tree at the end of his visit, tweeting: “100 years ago, American soldiers fought in France, in Belleau to defend our freedom. This oak tree (my gift to [Trump]) will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us.” The tree was from Belleau, the site of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood.

Trump and Macron planted the tree in the White House lawn only for reporters to discover on April 29 that the tree had mysteriously disappeared. Foul play is not suspected, instead, many suspect that the tree needed to be quarantined since it was not native to American soil, and must also go through U.S. custom checks.

Alexandra Yetter

Columbia Chicago

Alexandra is currently a student at Columbia College Chicago where she is underway to earn a major in journalism with a concentration in news and features, as well as studying French language and culture. There is nothing she loves more than wandering around cities, curling up with a good book, and writing for hours.
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