April 29, 2018 / 9:05 PM / 7 months ago

Macron and Trump planted tree at the White House. Why it is now missing

A yellow spot is seen where the tree planted by French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump on April 23 stood on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 28, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron celebrated the special relationship between the United States and France during his state visit to Washington last week by planting a tree with President Donald Trump on the grounds of the White House.

Now the oak sapling is gone - at least temporarily.

White House photographers noticed the tree was gone days after it had been planted. Mystery ensued.

In fact, the tree, from Belleau Wood in France where almost 2,000 American soldiers died in a World War One battle, had been dug up not long after it was planted. It was put in quarantine, according to U.S. and French officials. The problem: Parasites on the tree could spread to others on the White House property.

“It was actually a special favor from Trump to France to be able to plant the tree the day of the president’s visit,” an official from Macron’s office said.

“Since then, it has returned to quarantine and will soon be replanted in the White House gardens,” the official said, adding: “Don’t worry, the tree is doing very well.”

Reporting by Yuri Gipas and Mike Stone in Washington and Michel Rose in Paris; Writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney

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