An oak tree planted by President Trump and Emmanuel Macron as a symbol of the United States and France’s symbolic ties has died, a twist of fate that is an oddly apt metaphor for the leaders’ once intimate relationship that has since gone cold. Perhaps the duo should have gone for a Devil’s Ivy or a snake plant; they’re much harder to kill.
The baby oak was gifted by Macron during a state visit in April of 2018. It was taken from Belleau Wood, a forest outside of Paris, which was host to a fierce battle during World War I. During the Battle of Belleau Wood, 1,811 American soldiers died and 7,966 were injured.
The tree planting was a big to do, photo op fodder with the leaders’ respective wives present, smiling on. But nobody could have predicted that the little oak’s days were numbered. From The Guardian (bolding ours):
But a few days later, the tree was nowhere to be seen, having disappeared into quarantine. Images showed only a yellow patch of grass in the spot on the White House South Lawn where the tree was planted.
“It is a quarantine which is mandatory for any living organism imported into the US,” Gerard Araud, who was then the French ambassador to the US, wrote on Twitter, adding that it would be replanted later.
But it was never replanted: the tree died during quarantine, a diplomatic source told Agence France-Presse.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the tree was expected to be under quarantine for at least two years, but the sappling clearly wasn’t ready for the pressures that came with symbolizing diplomacy between two world powers. RIP lil oak, and RIP friendship.