President Biden and first lady Jill Biden will welcome French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte to Washington for a state visit on Dec. 1, the White House announced Monday.
The state visit will be the first hosted by Biden since taking office in January 2021 and comes months after a diplomatic flap over submarines forced the American president to apologize to his French counterpart.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the visit by Macron “will underscore the deep and enduring relationship between the United States and France, our oldest ally, that is founded on our shared democratic values, economic ties, and defense and security cooperation.”
“The leaders will discuss our continued close partnership on shared global challenges and areas of bilateral interest,” added Jean-Pierre in a statement.
As part of the festivities, the president and first lady will give a state dinner for the Macrons.
The relationship between Washington and Paris suffered its worst rupture in nearly two decades last year when Biden announced an agreement between the US and United Kingdom to help Australia build nuclear submarines, undercutting the French who had a contract to supply diesel-electric submarines to the land Down Under.
The international dustup prompted French officials to recall their envoys to the US and Australia and cancel a gala at their Washington embassy to commemorate the 240th Anniversary of the Revolutionary War Battle of the Capes.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drain went so far as to call the US actions a “stab in the back.”
“What happened was, to use an English phrase — what we did was clumsy. It was not done with a lot of grace,” Biden said as he met with Macron during the G20 summit in Rome that October.
“I was under the impression that certain things had happened that hadn’t happened,” the president said. “I was under the impression that France had been informed long before. I honest to God did not know you had not been.”
Macron took the high road, telling reporters that “we clarified together what we had to clarify” and “now what’s important is to be sure that such a situation will not be possible for our future … This is an extremely important clarification.”
Ironically, Macron was also the first world leader to make a state visit to former President Donald Trump, making the trip in April 2018.