Trump patches over rift with Macron, can­cels Amer­i­can ceme­tery visit

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY JILL COLVIN AND DAR­LENE SU­PERVILLE

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron tried to project unity Satur­day after Trump had lashed out at one of Amer­ica’s strong­est al­lies in Europe, claim­ing Macron in­sulted the United States when he pushed the idea of the con­ti­nent hav­ing its own de­fense force.

The Amer­i­can and French lead­ers, who have had an up-and-down re­la­tion­ship, told re­porters they were good friends be­fore go­ing be­hind closed doors for talks at the El­y­see Palace.

It was Trump’s first stop on a week­end trip to Paris where dozens of world lead­ers were gather­ing to com­mem­o­rate Sun­day’s 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I.

Trump also had been sched­uled to visit the Aisne-Marne Amer­i­can Ceme­tery at Bel­leau Wood on Satur­day, but can­celed be­cause of rainy weather that grounded the pres­i­den­tial he­li­copter.

The pres­i­dent was crit­i­cized for not find­ing a way to get to the ceme­tery, which is about a two-hour drive east of Paris, where Amer­i­cans killed in World War I are buried.

The White House sent a del­e­ga­tion that in­cluded chief of staff John Kelly in his place.

The dust-up over Eu­ro­pean se­cu­rity, which threat­ened to di­vert at­ten­tion from the week­end’s somber remembrance cer­e­monies, was just the lat­est ex­am­ple of fall­out from Trump’s un­pre­dictable brand of Twit­ter as­sisted diplo­macy.

His frac­tious, desta­bi­liz­ing re­la­tion­ship with Europe has driven a wedge be­tween the U.S. and some of its old­est al­lies on is­sues in­clud­ing trade, de­fense spend­ing and his seem­ing def­er­ence to their loom­ing neigh­bor to the east, Rus­sia’s Vladimir Putin.

It also un­der­scored the hot-and-cold re­la­tion­ship that Trump has had with Macron, who has in­creas­ingly branded him­self as a bul­wark against the ris­ing tide of Trump-style na­tion­al­ism across Europe.

The two men struck a more friendly tone as they opened their meet­ing at the grand pres­i­den­tial res­i­dence.

“We want to help Europe but it has to be fair. Right now, the bur­den­shar­ing has been largely on the United States,” Trump said.

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