Tree symbolising Trump-Macron friendship has died

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron plant a tree watched by Trump's wife Melania and Macron's wife Brigitte on the grounds of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 23, 2018.
PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - The photo of United States President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron planting an oak tree in the garden of the White House symbolised the friendship shown by the two leaders.

But relations between them have since frayed - over issues ranging from Iran to trade - and the tree, a diplomatic source said this week, did not survive.

The French President offered the young oak to Mr Trump on the occasion of a state visit to Washington in 2018, and the two shovelled dirt around it under the watchful eyes of their wives - and cameras from around the world.

It was a symbolic gesture: The tree came from a northern French forest where 2,000 US Marines died during World War I.

But a few days later, the tree was nowhere to be seen, having disappeared into quarantine.

"It is a quarantine which is mandatory for any living organism imported into the US," Mr Gerard Araud, then the French ambassador to America, wrote on Twitter, adding that it would be replanted later.

But it was never replanted. The tree died during its quarantine, the diplomatic source said.

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