French fusion at the White House

While there may not be much news generated in the halls of Congress this week, since lawmakers are back in their home states for recess, the White House made up for it with the Trump administration’s first State visit.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte Macron to Washington with a couple of events featuring agriculture.

First, both presidents and wives planted a European Sessile Oak, which was a gift from the Macrons, on the South Lawn of the White House.

According to the White House, “The tree comes from Belleau Woods, and is a historic landmark of the United States engagement in the First World War. Over 9,000 American Marines died in the Belleau Wood battle in June 1918 and the forest is a memorial site and important symbol of the sacrifice the United States made to ensure peace and stability in Europe.”

However, just days later, people started to notice the new tree was missing. Just a yellow patch of grass was covering where the tree was planted, and of course as Washington does, the press started to question its mystery removal.

If you’ve ever been out of the country, you know that the entrance back to America is rather tedious and strenuous, especially if you attempt to bring back living things. Heck, there’s more screening to go in and out of hog and poultry barns in the U.S. As such, the young tree was put into quarantine.

According to the Hagstrom Report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service worked with France to import two live oaks and quarantine them at a USDA facility in nearby Beltsville, Maryland, to ensure they do not carry pests or diseases. The quarantine could last at least two years.

Second, First Lady Melania Trump hosted her first State Dinner. Here are the details.

In a nod to bipartisanship, Mrs. Trump chose cream and gold China settings from both the Clinton and Bush (43) administrations.

In a nod to the bond between the U.S. and France, she chose to serve wine from French vines that were grown on American soil.

What’s pretty cool here is that Mr. Trump included ingredients from the White House Kitchen Garden in all three courses of the meal.

The first course consisted of the garden’s greens. The main course’s rack of lamb and jambalaya was seasoned with herbs from the garden. And, finally, dessert consisted of ice cream and nectarine tart with honey from the White House hives.

I also consider this inclusion a nod to bipartisanship, because the White House Kitchen Garden was planted and frequently featured by First Lady Michelle Obama and her healthy eating campaign. Mrs. Trump harvested the garden in September with the help of kids from a local Boys and Girls Club chapter. Maybe it’s just me, but keeping the tradition of the garden was a classy move by the current First Lady.

Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.