Trump Mocks France for World War Losses
(Bloomberg) -- The bromance between President Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron is truly dead.
First thing in the U.S. morning, the U.S. president took another -- even more pointed -- crack at the French leader. After a fractious visit to Paris over the weekend, Trump returned to the theme of a European army to defend the continent’s interests and took renewed offence. In a particularly sharp jab, Trump implied that the French needed the U.S. to rescue them from the Germans in both world wars.
The tweet comes after Trump joined world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. In an earlier tweet, the American president had called Macron’s suggestion “very insulting.” Trump’s latest broad-side was ill-timed, falling on the third anniversary of Paris terror attacks that killed more than 130 people and left hundreds more injured.
A senior aide to the French president said he was glad that Trump had taken the time to study some history. Former Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt offered Trump another history lesson on his own Twitter account.
The French official said he thought the tweets were aimed at Trump’s domestic audience. He said the two leaders speak several times a week and their relationship is fluid, even if it isn’t always easy.
Trump may be facing further turbulence at home later on Tuesday with CBS reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may issue new indictments relating to his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Macron had seemed to make up with Trump in Paris over the weekend with the usual forceful handshake and an exchange of platitudes. The French side was keen to stress the Macron comments that sparked the initial flare up were taken out of context and misappropriated.
Trump seems to have merged two separate comments from Macron in a Nov. 6 interview with Europe1. Speaking about the economy in general and cyber in specific, he said a “sovereign” Europe needed to defend itself from “Russian, China, and even the U.S.”
Later, in response to a different question, he said Europe needed “a real army” to defend itself from threats in the east because it shouldn’t always rely on the U.S. This appeal has been a cornerstone of Macron’s foreign policy for over a year.
Even though Macron’s side has been at pains to clarify this, the truce between the two was short-lived. What became clear though is that whatever personal chemistry existed between the two, their policy differences have given way to open animosity.
“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” Macron said in an address to world leaders gathered for Armistice commemorations, with Trump sitting nearby.
His office later tweeted this part of the speech, which went on to say ‘by putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values.”
It was seen as a direct rebuke of Trump’s ‘America First’ policies. Indeed, Macron has used social media to mock the U.S. leader in the past. When Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, Macron launched an initiative to recruit U.S. scientists with the tag line "Make Our Planet Great Again" -- a play on Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan.
On Tuesday, there were a barrage of Trump tweets directed at France, accusing Macron of trying to distract the media from his low approval rating, complaining about French tariffs on U.S. wine and offering an explanation for pulling out of a visit to a military cemetery due to bad weather.
In a final jab, he evoked his 2016 campaign motto.t
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