Pictures taken by a Reuters photographer appeared to show that a tree planted at the White House this week by Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron has vanished.
The tree, an oak sapling from the site of a pivotal first world war battle involving the US marines, was a gift presented by the French president as part of his state visit to Washington.
In a tweet, Macron said: “100 years ago, American soldiers fought in France, in Belleau to defend our freedom. This oak tree (my gift to [Donald Trump]) will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us.”
100 years ago, American soldiers fought in France, in Belleau to defend our freedom. This oak tree (my gift to @realDonaldTrump) will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us. pic.twitter.com/AUdVncaKRN
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 24, 2018
Macron and Trump planted it on Monday, using golden shovels and with wives Brigitte Macron and Melania Trump looking on.
The planting ceremony prompted speculation on social media, particularly about whether the French president had been “trolling” Trump over his environmental policies and withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.
Photographs taken by Yuri Gripas of Reuters on Saturday showed only a yellow patch of grass in the spot on the White House grounds where the tree was planted.
French media were quick to take notice. The French edition of Huffpost quoted a French government official as saying the oak was “doing well” but was under quarantine.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.