Macron gifted Trump the young European sessile oak from Belleau Wood (the site of a devastating 1918 World War I battle where more than 1,800 Marines were killed in combat) during his state visit to the U.S. in April 2018.
“We will send him another, it is not a tragedy,” Macron told Switzerland’s RTS network on Tuesday, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported.
“It turns out that this oak was put in quarantine for American sanitary reasons and the poor thing did not survive,” France’s political leader added. “I’ll send another oak because I think the U.S. Marines and the friendship for freedom between our peoples is well worth it.”
France’s Le Monde newspaper described the death of the tree as “a metaphor for a relationship that isn’t what it was.”
But Macron urged people to “not see symbols where there are none.”
“The symbol was to plant it together,” he added.
During the ceremony, Macron said the tree would be a reminder of the “ties that bind” the two countries.
Trump was widely trolled on Twitter following the planting of the tree, which was overseen by first ladies Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron, given his administration’s climate change-denying agenda.