France puts on military show as Trump marks Bastille Day in Paris
PARIS (CNN) — France will treat President Donald Trump to an elaborate military display on Friday, a strategic show of friendship by the new leader here who hopes to elevate his country’s global standing by flattering his US counterpart.
Thousands of French troops will parade down the Champs-Élysées in a dramatic show of pageantry to mark the storming of the Bastille military prison in 1789, a turning point in the French Revolution.
This year the celebration is also meant to commemorate the centennial of US entry into World War I, hence French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to Trump to attend.
In addition to the display of French military might, the parade will be augmented by about 150 US soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines, as well as American aircraft participating in the flyover.
Trump and Macron will review the procession from a stand at the Place de la Concorde. Security around the area was tight amid heightened security in Paris following a series of terror attacks.
This year’s Bastille Day also marks the one-year anniversary of the truck attack along the Promenade des Anglais, in Nice, which killed more than 80. Macron was due to fly to Nice to commemorate the victims after bidding Trump farewell in Paris.
It’s a packed itinerary for the new French president, who has taken to dramatic displays of Gallic splendor in welcoming Trump to France. Thursday saw a full military review and a tour of Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides before a haute dining experience on the second landing of the Eiffel Tower.
France acts as a key security partner for the United States and has been the second largest contributor to the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, but its days as a military power have faded somewhat. Macron hopes to return his country to major global standing, including by reaching out to the isolationist Trump.
Macron hopes to act as Trump’s bridge to Europe, his advisers have said, as other leaders here effectively isolate the US on a set of key issues. While Macron has made his differences with his American counterpart known, he’s also made plain his desire to foster a close bond.
Trump, meanwhile, has appeared more than pleased at his reception here. As president Trump has basked in the traditional trappings of power, including the military symbols of the presidency.
Trump reportedly requested military hardware to be included in his inaugural parade, though ultimately the usual mix of marching bands processed down Pennsylvania Avenue instead of tanks and troops.
In Paris, however, Trump will witness his desired show of military might, albeit another country’s. The celebration includes horses, military equipment, and jets flying above.