White House mystery solved over what happened to Macron's gifted oak tree

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A tree gifted to US President Donald Trump by French President Emmanuel Macron has disappeared from the White House. It initially grew at the site of World War I's Battle of Belleau Wood, in which almost 2,000 American soldiers were killed.

Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump, who coordinated the ceremonial aspects of the Macron visit, told CNN Monday the plan was always to quarantine the tree. A pale patch of grass was left in its place.

Last week, photographs circulated showing US President Donald Trump and France's Emmanuel Macron, a close ally, shoveling dirt over a young sapling as their wives looked on.

When a follower fired back that the caution seemed a bit late - given that the tree had already been planted - the diplomat went on to confirm that the roots had been enclosed in plastic.

The White House has not commented on what happened to the oak.

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The oak sprouted at a World War I battle site that became part of US Marine Corps legend.

Now the oak sapling is gone - at least temporarily.

A few days after the planting, the tree had vanished. The problem: Parasites on the tree could spread to others on the White House property. The missing sapling is simply in quarantine, as is required for plants and animals brought into the US from outside the country.

The AP reports that the French president's office says the tree has been placed in quarantine, as is required of all plants and animals that enter the country from overseas.

The Daily Mail, BBC News, and HuffPost France speculated that the tree may have been temporarily removed under federal rules since it was an imported plant.

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