All good things must come to an end. As the bromance between French President Emmanuel Macron and American President Donald Trump ended, so too did the life of an oak tree the two leaders had planted together.
The sapling came with Macron to the United States on France’s State Visit to the White House in April 2018. Side by side with golden shovels in hand, the duo planted the tree on the White House grounds. It was “a reminder … of these ties that bind us,” wrote Macron on Twitter.
100 years ago, American soldiers fought in France, in Belleau to defend our freedom. This oak tree (my gift to @realDonaldTrump) will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us. pic.twitter.com/AUdVncaKRN
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 24, 2018
The tree came from Belleau Wood, a forest northeast of Paris, where a pivotal World War I battle that took the lives of more than 2,000 American marines. occurred.
Causing a brief stir when it was first noticed to be gone, the tree was uprooted from the White House grounds and placed in quarantine. French Ambassador to the United States explained on Twitter that it was a mandatory process for all living organisms entering the United States. (It helps prevent the spread of pests and diseases.) As the AFP reported, the tree did not survive its time in quarantine.
It’s hard to miss the mirroring happening between the relationship of the two presidents and the livelihood of the tree. What began as a friendly relationship full of handholding and celebratory events has descended into Twitter sniping and more seemingly insurmountable points of contention, on issues like the Iran nuclear agreement and patriotism-versus-nationalism.