The Eiffel Tower is lit with the blue, white and red colors of the French flag in Paris, France, Nov. 16, 2015, to pay tribute to the victims of a series of deadly attacks on Friday in the French capital. 
Photo by Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Despite a record of insults, Trump arrives in Paris

If it seems like Donald Trump just got back from a European trip, it’s not your imagination. The president was in Germany late last week for a G-20 summit, but that didn’t stop him from taking another sojourn this week, arriving in Paris today.

There’s ample evidence to suggest the French won’t be glad to see him – Barack Obama was very popular in France, Trump is not – but that didn’t stop him. The Washington Post reports on why the Republican agreed to make the trip.

President Trump was not expected to attend France’s Bastille Day, which this year will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.

But then he learned there would be a military parade.

French President Emmanuel Macron told Trump in a June 27 phone call about the event, which this year will feature U.S. and French troops marching through the historic streets near the Arc de Triomphe, fighter jets cutting through the skies above, and flags, horses and military equipment on display – the sort of spectacle that Trump wanted to stage at his own inauguration in January.

Trump’s decision, the article added, forced officials in both countries to quickly schedule “a last-minute trip that will last about 27 hours.”

It’ll be interesting to hear what “Jim” thinks about all of this. And who’s Jim? I’m glad you asked.

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Jim is probably a person Trump made up in order to complain about France.

The way Trump tells it … Jim is a friend who loves Paris and used to visit every year. Yet when Trump travels to the city Thursday for his first time as president, it’s unlikely that Jim will tag along. Jim doesn’t go to Paris anymore. Trump says that’s because the city has been infiltrated by foreign extremists.

Whether Jim exists is unclear. Trump has never given his last name. The White House has not responded to a request for comment about who Jim is or whether he will be on the trip.

Trump repeatedly talked about the enigmatic Jim while on the campaign trail, but his friend didn’t receive widespread attention until Trump became president. For Trump, Jim’s story serves as a cautionary tale – a warning that even a place as lovely as Paris can be ruined if leaders are complacent about terrorism.

Jim’s biggest moment in the spotlight was during a high-profile Trump speech in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

In Trump’s version of the story, Jim adored Paris, until very recently. “ ‘I don’t go there anymore,” the president’s alleged friend said. “Paris is no longer Paris.’”

Trump’s affinity for made-up people notwithstanding – perhaps “John Miller” can talk to reporters over the phone about why “Jim” is so disappointed in Paris – is it any wonder our French allies aren’t welcoming the American president with open arms?

Donald Trump, France and Paris

Despite a record of insults, Trump arrives in Paris