Paul Ryan invites France’s Macron to address Congress next month

Olivier Knox
Chief Washington Correspondent
Emmanuel Macron, left; Paul Ryan (Photos: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images, Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

WASHINGTON – Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday invited French President Emmanuel Macron to address a joint meeting of Congress when he travels to the United States next month. The French leader will come to Washington in late April for the first state visit of President Trump’s time in office.

“France is not only our oldest ally, but one of our strongest,” Ryan said in a statement. “This is a special opportunity to build on the historic relationship between our countries, and to reaffirm our commitment to defeating terror both domestically and around the world.”

Macron, who is due at the White House on April 24, will address U.S. lawmakers a day later.

The French president and Trump have met several times, including when Macron hosted his U.S. counterpart in Paris over the Bastille Day holiday in July 2017. The two leaders appear to have forged good personal ties despite being at odds on major issues of policy: Macron favors keeping the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal, while Trump has announced the U.S. will withdraw from the former and could end American participation in the latter just weeks after the state visit.

Macron will be the eighth French president to give an address to  a joint meeting of Congress. The last was Nicolas Sarkozy, in 2007. And the first foreign dignitary to address the House of Representatives was French aristocrat and U.S. revolutionary war hero the Marquis de Lafayette, in December 1824.

Macron will be the second foreign leader to address a joint meeting of Congress under Ryan’s speakership. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke in June 2016.

While Trump has welcomed many foreign leaders to the White House, Macron will be the first to get the formal trappings of a state visit, which involves more pomp and circumstance than “official” or “working” visits.

The full list of overseas of foreign officials to address Congress is here.

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