Trump’s mes­sages are mixed

Af­ter testy tweet, U.S. pres­i­dent calls French pres­i­dent a good friend.


As­so­ci­ated Press PARIS — 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 upand-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 to­day’s 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I.

Trump also had been sched­uled to visit the Ais­nemarne 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 dustup 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.

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

The brouhaha be­gan Fri­day night, when Trump un­leashed an an­gry Twit­ter jab at his host just as Air Force One touched down in Paris. Trump tweeted that Macron “has just sug­gested that Europe build its own mil­i­tary in or­der to pro­tect it­self from the U.S., China and Rus­sia. Very in­sult­ing, but per­haps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. sub­si­dizes greatly!”

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

Thibault ca­mus / As­so­ci­ated Press

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron meet Satur­day at El­y­see Palace in Paris.

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