The Saga of the Tree has a sad ending, it turns out: A sapling given to US President Donald Trump by French President Emmanuel Macron to great fanfare has died, according to French news reports — and the symbolism wasn't lost on people who noted the strained relationship between the world leaders.
The roots of the story go back to April 2018, when the Macron-Trump friendship was being described as a "bromance," and the French President and his wife, Brigitte, were feted at the only state dinner the Trumps have hosted.
The Macrons presented the Trumps with a tree meant to embody the close ties between their respective countries, and the foursome planted it on the White House lawn with gold-toned shovels in a photo op designed to highlight Franco-American unity.
Things seemed amiss shortly afterward when reporters noticed that it had been removed from its spot. But then-French Ambassador Gerard Araud assured people there was no message behind the uprooting. He tweeted that the young oak had simply been put in a standard-issue quarantine.
It seems that the sapling didn't survive its exile. Le Monde reported the demise, confirmed to the Agence France-Presse by a "diplomatic source." The French Embassy didn't immediately respond to our query.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
The tree came from Belleau Woods, the site where nearly 2000 Marines died in World War I. Its passing comes as ties between Trump and Macron appear to be fraying over differences over Iran, trade, and the role of the European Union.
Twitter wags pounced on the metaphor, of course. Said one user who posted the news, "The trees know."