President Trump and French President Macron had a meeting and a joint press conference followed by this presidency’s first state dinner. That is such a normal thing that it’s barely worth a comment. Two heads of state get together, discuss things, tell the press about it and have a fancy party. It happens all the time, all over the world. But it bothers me that Macron participated. Every time a world leader meets with Trump, it helps to normalize his presidency.
I shouldn’t single out Macron. Others, like Japan’s Abe and Canada’s Trudeau, have met with Trump. Those meetings bothered me, too. But this being an official state visit just feels bigger. By being invited, Macron was given an opportunity to make a statement. Trump has pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, tried to take basic health care away from millions of Americans, tried to ban refugees and law abiding people from entering the country, has given every indication that he wants to end the Iran Nuclear Deal, praised dictators and antagonized the whole Arab world by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That’s just scratching the surface, but you get the idea. Macron’s statement by accepting was, that’s all normal.
The fact of the matter is that nothing about Trump’s presidency is normal, or good. I understand that the United States is deeply entangled in international politics. We have the world’s biggest military and economy. It would be impossible to ignore us or give us the silent treatment. But that doesn’t mean other countries need to treat this administration normally. The rest of the world should be showing their disapproval wherever possible, and that includes dinners and photo ops. As I said, nothing about Trump is normal and everyone needs to stop acting like it is.