French President Francois Hollande arrived in D.C. to attend a different kind of foreign affair. President Hollande will be the guest of honor on Tuesday, at the first state dinner hosted by the Obama administration this term. The French President has been the center of attention since the beginning of 2014, following news of his alleged affair with French actress Julie Gayet and subsequent separation from his partner Valérie Trierweiler.
Hollande arrived unaccompanied by the former de facto First Lady of France, Valérie Trierweiler.The couple were together for the past seven years, until news of the affair broke out in January. The French President has since announced his separation from Trierweiler. He has publicly stated that he wants to maintain his privacy , although he has said nothing to deny the allegations.
Pic of Valérie Trierweiler (Hollande’s former girlfriend)
Pic of Julie Gayet (the other woman)
His state visit began with his arrival in D.C. followed by a visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Virginia residence with the President, Barack Obama. Jefferson is America’s Third President, and a well-known Francophile, leading the country in a time when French-American relations were very strong.
France is a top ally of the United States government, and the state dinner is held for the purpose of further deepening the ties between the two countries. So far, Obama has been able to count on the support of the Hollande administration. This was last demonstrated in September 2013, when President Obama asked for support in attacking Syria — the British Parliament opposed the plan. France was among the few allies that offered their support and made preparations to bombard Syria with air strikes.
Unlike his predecessor, the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Hollande’s policies are more in tune with Obama’s policies. Furthermore, since President Hollande is fluent in English, the affair with the White House may prove to be more rewarding than the affair he leaves back in France.