Trump’s messages are mixed
After testy tweet, U.S. president calls French president a good friend.
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 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 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.
President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron meet Saturday at Elysee Palace in Paris.