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UPDATE: Trump Softens Tone On Syria Withdrawal

Trump was insisting just a few weeks ago that he wanted to pull out U.S. troops and leave the job of rebuilding Syria to others in the region

THE LATEST on the White House visit of French President Emmanuel Macron (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump said U.S. troops will come home from Syria, but he wants to leave a “strong and lasting footprint” in the region.

Trump’s comment signaled a softening in tone. Trump was insisting just a few weeks ago that he wanted to pull out U.S. troops and leave the job of rebuilding Syria to others in the region.

Asked about his timeline for bringing the troops home, Trump reiterated his desire to exit Syria. But he also said that he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed that neither of them wants to give Iran more of an opening in the region.

Trump said “we’ll see what happens but we’re going to be coming home relatively soon.”

He commented during a White House news conference Tuesday with Macron, who is on a state visit to the U.S.

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1:15 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he’s confident about the future of his country’s trading relationship with the U.S. He said it’s good when allies work together.

Macron said in a joint news conference with President Donald Trump that trade is balanced between the two countries and he’s suggesting all nations follow the rules of the World Trade Organization.

The French president has been critical of Trump’s protectionist moves on trade in recent weeks and has called upon the U.S. to exempt European nations from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

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1 p.m.

President Donald Trump is thanking French President Emmanuel Macron for his partnership on the recent missile strikes against chemical weapons in Syria and the fight against terrorism.

Trump says at a joint White House news conference that he will soon be meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He says the U.S. won’t “repeat the mistakes of past administrations” and will pressure the North Korean regime.

Macron is pointing to the need for the Iran nuclear deal. He says he wants to work on a new deal in the weeks and months ahead.

Macron says any new agreement would need to block any nuclear activity in Iran through 2025, cease any uranium activity and put an end to the country’s ballistic missiles program.

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12:16 p.m.

A pair of designers is responsible for Melania Trump’s white skirt suit and matching hat.

The first lady’s office says Michael Kors designed the two-piece suit that Mrs. Trump wore for Tuesday’s White House arrival ceremony for President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte.

Mrs. Trump also wore the suit on an outing to the National Gallery of Art in Washington with Mrs. Macron.

The first lady topped her outfit with a broad-brimmed white hat designed by Herve Pierre. Pierre designed the first lady’s inaugural ball gown.

The white hat quickly became the talk of the town, as well as on Twitter. Mrs. Trump typically doesn’t wear hats.

Still to come is Tuesday night’s piece de resistance: the first lady’s state dinner gown.

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10:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is warning that if Iran restarts its nuclear program it “will have bigger problems than they have ever had before.”

Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will be discussing the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday during their meetings at the White House.

Macron wants Trump to maintain the deal. Trump is undecided but has called it “a terrible deal.”

Though Trump has warmly welcomed Macron to Washington, the two have disagreements to sort through, including Trump’s decision to leave the multinational Paris climate change agreement.

While with Macron, Trump refused to answer a reporter’s question as to whether he is considering a pardon for his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, whose office was raided by the FBI. Trump called it “a stupid question.”

Cohen has not been charged.

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