Jill Biden Meets (and Sips White Wine) with France's Brigitte Macron Ahead of Summit: 'Just Like Sisters'
Dressed similarly in black-and-navy skirt suits, the 70-year-old Biden said she and the 68-year-old French first lady were like "two friends together, just like sisters."
The two chatted at Il Marchese, a restaurant housed in an ornate building near the Tiber river. As they exited, the first lady said the meeting was "wonderful."
"We've come here so many times," she told reporters. "I love Italy, Brigitte loves Italy. Who would not love Italy? There's nothing that we couldn't love about it, right?"
Biden's spokesman told members of the press pool that the conversation between the women looked warm while they drank white wine and could be seen nibbling on something.
When asked what they ate and drank, however, Biden told reporters: "Well, practically nothing."
While Biden met with Brigitte, her husband, President Joe Biden met with President Macron at the French embassy in Rome for a face-to-face that comes weeks after the fallout from a submarine negotiation.
Earlier Friday, the Bidens met with Pope Francis, addressing serious topics as well as exchanging a few lighthearted moments.
The Bidens gave Francis a hand-woven vestment from the 1930s that comes from Washington, D.C.'s Holy Trinity Church, where the nation's first Catholic president, John. F. Kennedy, worshiped.
After his audience with Francis, President Biden met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin before going on to visit with French President Macron.
Following their meeting with the pope, Dr. Biden told reporters, "It was wonderful. He was wonderful."
Also on Friday, Dr. Biden had tea with Maria Serenella Cappello, the wife of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
The international trip, which goes through Wednesday, marks President Biden's first visit with President Macron since the announcement of a U.S.-British submarine deal with Australia that scuttled France's own plans.
France had been working for years on a plan to sell 12 conventional submarines to Australia through a French shipbuilder, CNN reports. Those plans were upended just one day after the U.S., the U.K. and Australia unveiled a trilateral deal — in a partnership dubbed AUKUS — to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines instead.
In response, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he was "angry and bitter" about AUKUS, according to CNN, adding that such a move "isn't done between allies."
After learning of the new deal, France called home its ambassador to the U.S., canceled a reception in Washington and toned down a celebration to commemorate the 240th anniversary of a French victory over the British in 1781 at the Battle of Capes that helped the U.S. win its independence.
Presidents Biden and Macron spoke by phone to discuss the matter in September, according to a joint statement supplied by the White House.