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- An oak tree Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump planted together to symbolize French-American ties has died, according to French media.
- The tree, which came from a forest where 2,000 US soldiers died in WWI, was taken to quarantine a few days after being planted.
- It was never replanted, and died in quarantine, according to a diplomatic sources cited by French media.
- The tree’s death comes as Trump’s relationship with Macron grows tense over issues like trade, the climate, and the Iran deal.
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An oak tree which French President Emmanuel Macron gave to Donald Trump to symbolize their nations’ friendship has died, according to French media.
The leaders planted the tree together in the South Lawn of the White House during Macron’s state visit in late April.
The gift came from a forest in northern France where 2,000 US soldiers died in World War I, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
After the planting ceremony, Macron tweeted: "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."
But a few days later, the tree was no longer in the garden, and only a patch of yellow grass could be seen, The Guardian reported.
Gerard Araud, who was the French ambassador to the US at the time, confirmed that the oak tree had to be uprooted to be inspected in quarantine.
"It is in quarantine which is mandatory for any living organism imported to the US. It will be replanted afterwards," he said on Twitter.
The tree then died as it underwent inspection, a diplomatic source told French newspaper Le Monde last week. The report was confirmed by Le Figaro and AFP.
The reports of the tree’s death come as Trump and Macron disagree on key issues from trade to climate to the Iran deal.
Benjamin Haddad, a Europe expert at the think-tank Atlantic Council, told Le Monde that tensions became apparent around the time the presidents planted the friendship tree together.
"It was during this visit to Washington that Emmanuel Macron understood that Donald Trump would not budge," Haddad said.
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