In 2018, Mr. Trump skipped a visit to a veteran’s cemetery further outside of Paris. In 2020, Mr. Trump denied a report in The Atlantic that he had mocked that cemetery as “filled with losers.”
On Thursday, Ms. Harris will attend an Armistice Day ceremony with Mr. Macron and deliver remarks at the Paris Peace Forum as the highest-ranking American official to attend. Mr. Trump skipped the inaugural event. On Friday, she will attend an international conference on Libya with several heads of state, including Mr. Macron and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.
After two prior trips abroad — the first, to Guatemala and Mexico, overshadowed by a blundered answer to a question she fielded about the U.S.-Mexico border, and the next, to Vietnam and Singapore, overshadowed by Afghanistan — Ms. Harris’s visit to France has so far been defined by its personal flourishes.
During a visit on Tuesday to the Pasteur Institute, a research facility in Paris where her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, once worked, Ms. Harris said that her visit was meant to symbolize “a sign of the current state of the relationship and our dedication to the future.” She visited with two researchers, one French, and one American, who are trying to determine why some people fall deathly ill from the coronavirus while others experience no symptoms.
She quizzed the pair on emerging variants before ruminating in front of the cameras for several minutes about her love for the scientific process — at least compared to the political deal making process she has observed at home.
“They start out with a hypothesis,” Ms. Harris said. “And then they test it out — knowing invariably if you’re trying something for the first time, there will be glitches, there will be mistakes.
“With us in government, we campaign with “The Plan” — uppercase “T,” uppercase “P” — “The Plan,” she continued. “And then the environment is such that we’re expected to defend “The Plan,” even when the first time we roll it out, there may be some glitches and it’s time to re-evaluate and then do it again.”