While attending the G7 summit in in Biarritz, France, President Donald Trump is slated to host a joint press conference alongside French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time.
The presser comes after Macron’s surprise-filled start of the G7, which was capped off with the French president quietly inviting Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif over the weekend — a move that will likely be a main topic of discussion as the two leaders talk to reporters.
The president initially said he had “no comment” on Zarif’s presence, while the White House stated that they were unaware of Macron inviting the diplomate, but Trump has now changed his tune on the impromptu visit.
“President Macron asked my approval. I don’t consider that disrespectful at all,” said Trump to reporters on Monday morning; though, he also insisted that the U.S. will “do our own outreach” with the rival country.
It does not appear that the president spoke to or had any run in with the Iranian diplomate. Instead, Trump was reportedly holed up in his Biarritz hotel room rather than speaking with Zarif, who took a detour from his scheduled trip to Asia, where he is attempting to dissuade nations from siding with U.S. sanctions against Iran, to visit with the Western leaders.
On Saturday, just after Trump touched down in France, Macron pulled the president aside for an unplanned lunch where the two discussed rising U.S. tensions with Iran. Macron has long been focused on bringing the two countries back to the bargaining table to revive the Iran nuclear deal, which has been essentially abandoned since Trump pulled the U.S. out. Macron suggested to Trump that the U.S. allow Tehran additional oil exports in exchange for their acquiescence to a set of nuclear limitations.
During the Monday morning presser, it is likely that Macron and Trump will be asked about the U.S. president’s recent threats to enact tariffs on French wine — a threat he has made in the past, and again just prior to the G7 summit, in response to France instituting a new tax on U.S. tech companies.
The two appear to be on better footing since Trump’s Twitter threats against Macron, as he referred to the French leader as a long-time friend and said that while the two “go at each other a little bit,” they still have a “special relationship.” In turn, Macron referred to Trump as “a very special guest.”
Trump has also used the G7 to fight for readmitting Russia — who was removed in 2014 for annexing Crimea — into the gathering of Western nations. The president derailed a dinner on Saturday night by arguing for the Kremlin’s inclusion and a reunification of the G8, but the move has little support among the summit’s organizers and other world leaders present at the event.
Watch the presser live above, via the White House.
[featured image via LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images]
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