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Trump Heads to Paris After Turbulent Week

President Trump departs for Paris on Friday — at the end of a week that saw his party lose control of one chamber of Congress and the ouster of his attorney general — to meet his French counterpart and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The president’s second official visit to Paris coincides with Veterans Day in the U.S. and will be aimed at honoring people who helped defend the U.S. in times of war and peace.

Mr. Trump is among dozens of world leaders expected to attend this weekend’s events, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. French President Emmanuel Macron will host a luncheon for many of the visiting leaders.

A senior White House official said Mr. Trump is scheduled to hold talks only with Mr. Macron on Saturday and has no formal meetings or brief pull-aside discussions planned with Mr. Putin or any other leaders.

Mr. Trump’s trip comes days after Democrats won control of the House in Tuesday’s midterm elections, which will put them in position to delay or block the president’s agenda, ranging from his proposed border wall with Mexico to trade deals he has vowed to renegotiate. A day after the election, at a freewheeling and often combative White House news conference, he vowed a “warlike posture” should the Democrats exercise oversight, while simultaneously urging bipartisanship.

On foreign relations, Mr. Trump struck an optimistic note, tweeting that allies in other countries who had been waiting to negotiate trade deals had congratulated him on GOP victories. “Now we can all get back to work and get things done!” he wrote on Twitter.

Tough trade talks between the U.S. and its European partners have been under way for several months, but the president’s decision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on many of America’s closest allies and trading partners has made for a tense working relationship, including with France. Mr. Macron also opposes the Trump administration’s re-imposition of sanctions on Iran and withdrawal from the Obama-era Iran nuclear agreement.

Most Western companies and banks pulled out of Iran before the sanctions were reimposed, fearing a loss of access to the U.S. economy. But European politicians have been trying to find ways to protect their companies and allow them to keep doing business with Iran.

The European Union has been trying to hash out a special payment channel for trade with Iran that skirts U.S. sanctions and allows European countries to continue doing business with Iranians.

Messrs. Trump and Macron have opted to set aside lingering differences on issues such as climate change and focus instead on areas where they can cooperate, including a postwar road map for Syria and broader security in the Middle East. They have also vowed to work together on conflicts in Ukraine and Libya.

Sunday’s Armistice Day commemoration will be absent the fanfare — and military parade — that so captured the president’s interest during his visit to Paris for Bastille Day celebrations in July last year, inspiring efforts by the White House to mount a similar military parade in Washington on Nov. 10 this year. The Pentagon and White House in August said that parade would be delayed to 2019.

Mr. Trump’s visit is intended to be a low-key observance of the anniversary, with the president and first lady scheduled to pay their respects at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial on Saturday. The president is also set to speak at an American commemoration ceremony at Suresnes American Cemetery.

At his White House press conference on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said he expected the commemoration to be “very beautiful.”

“I’m looking forward to going,” he said. ” And we’re representing the incredible heroes of the world, but the heroes of our country from World War I.”
Source: Dow Jones

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