Vice President Kamala Harris is headed to Paris, months after a notorious exchange with a journalist in which Harris said — in response to a question about why she hadn’t yet visited the U.S. Mexico border amidst the surge in migration — that she’d never been to Europe either.
The vice president will visit France next month on a foreign trip, her first to Europe, where she will make several appearances and meet with President Emmanuel Macron. The trip will include a speech at the fourth annual Paris Peace Forum on November 11, which is also Veterans Day in the U.S. and Armistice Day in France, and an appearance at the Paris Conference on Libya the following day.
“While in Paris, the Vice President will meet with President Macron,” said a statement from Harris’ office released Friday. “They will discuss the importance of the transatlantic relationship to global peace and security and underscore the importance of our partnership on global challenges from COVID-19 and the climate crisis to issues affecting the Sahel and the Indo-Pacific.”
Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, 57, will also make the trip overseas.
The trip comes amidst a period of tensions between the United States and France, which recalled its ambassadors from Washington, D.C., last month in response to a U.S. nuclear submarine deal with Australia. The new agreement led Australia to scrap a previous submarine deal with France, and also led France, the U.S.’s oldest ally, to cancel a gala commemorating the Battle of the Capes in 1781.
The French ambassador has since returned to the United States, and President Joe Biden appears to be trying to repair the relationship, having spoken with his French counterpart Friday, per the White House.
“The two leaders reviewed ongoing efforts by their teams to support stability and security in the Sahel and to enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. They also discussed efforts to enable a stronger and more capable European defense while ensuring complementarity with NATO,” reads a Biden administration read-out of the conversation between the two leaders on Friday. “President Biden looks forward to the meeting with President Macron in Rome later this month, where they will continue the conversation, take stock of the many areas of U.S.-France cooperation, and reinforce our shared interests and common values as we take on challenges and opportunities together.”
According to the vice president’s office, Harris will also visit Suresnes American Cemetery, a memorial site near Paris where the remains of 1,582 American soldiers from World War I and World War II have been buried.
“The 7.5-acre cemetery contains the remains of 1,559 Americans who died in World War I and 23 unknown dead of World War II. Bronze tablets on the walls of the chapel record the names of 974 World War I missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified,” the American Battle Monuments Commission says on its website.
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