White House Tree Marking Donald Trump's Friendship with French President Macron Has Died, Reports Say

A French oak tree planted by President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House, meant to symbolize enduring friendship, has died—and irony abounds.

Trump, who has touted an America First worldview in office, was perhaps never going to be bosom buddies with Macron, an avowed globalist. But in 2018 when the pair met for a state visit they could take comfort in some symbolism. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of humor.

The French news agency Agence France Presse reported Monday the tree had died in quarantine, citing a diplomatic source. The White House did not immediately respond to requests from Newsweek to comment on how the tree died or whether it would replaced.

Eyebrows had already been raised over what had become of the tree after it disappeared from the White House lawn almost as soon as it had been planted. Just days earlier, the U.S. and French presidents had appeared with their wives, Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron, on a spring day to plant the sapling with golden-colored shovels.

tree planting ceremony
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump participate in a tree planting ceremony with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 23, 2018 JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

The tree invoked the memory of the United States' sacrifice during World War I. The young oak tree had been brought to Washington from a northern French forest where 2,000 U.S. Marines perished.

"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," President Macron tweeted at the time.

After the planting, Le Figaro reported, a yellow spot could be seen in photographs were the symbolic tree had been. In response to the queries, Gerard Araud, then the French ambassador to America, explained the tree's absence and promised it would be returned. "It is a quarantine which is mandatory for any living organism imported into the US," he wrote on Twitter.

Le cadeau du Président @EmmanuelMacron au Président @realDonaldTrump a une histoire bien particulière. Découvrez-la : pic.twitter.com/odnHx7Qt7U

— Élysée (@Elysee) April 22, 2018

Relations between Washington and Paris have frayed over the last year, particularly over the countries' opposing stances on Iran and the future of the European Union. Remembering the United States' sacrifice in France during World War II last week Macron appeared to chide the president over his isolationist tendencies.

"We know what we owe to the United States of America. The United States of America, dear Donald Trump, dear president, which is never greater than when it is fighting for the freedom of others," Macron said on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing in France.

"The United States of America, that is never greater than when it shows its loyalty to the universal values that the Founding Fathers defended when, nearly two and half centuries ago, France came to support its independence," the French president added.

Twitter has had fun with the allegorical nature of the story. "Seems about right symbology wise," wrote one Twitter user. Another, in French, heaped metaphor upon metaphor. "It wasn't the manure that was missing," they posited.