Trump fires back at European leaders after damp reception in France

Hugh Fox
November 18, 2018

"I don't want to respond to tweets", he told a journalist from France's TF1 network, in what was ultimately a response to a tweet.

The French leader caused Mr Trump grave offence when he said that, apart from protecting Europe from emerging powers such as China and Russian Federation, such a force might be needed to defend the continent in future from the US.

In fact, Macron had said Europe needs to protect itself against cyberthreats from China, Russia and the U.S. The French leader's office said Trump had lumped together Macron's remarks on protecting against cyberthreats with a later statement on military defence.

Trump's tweet Tuesday that said "MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!" revived French national pride on social media. While the rest of Europe has made no secret of its distaste for Mr Trump's brash style of conducting politics, Mr Macron has assiduously courted Mr Trump, making him his guest of honour at last year's Bastille Day celebrations.

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"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America", Macron said on Europe 1 radio last week.

Macron went on to join other foreign leaders in a "peace forum" held on the actual anniversary of Armistice Day - one President Trump did not attend.

France was the epicenter of World War I, the first global conflict.

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In other message, he wrote: "The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26 percent, and an unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent". He was just trying to get onto another subject. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the US subsidizes greatly!"

The symbolism during Trump's visit couldn't have been more stark.

France and the U.S. - allies for more than two hundred years, but relations do not mean that France is prepared to be a vassal of the United States. He said France will decide in 2020 whether to build another aircraft carrier for as much as 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion), and it should depend less on its ally across the Atlantic Ocean. They were starting to learn German in Paris before the United States came along.

Such is the state of world leadership and competition that has emerged in this nearly childish, or at least sophomoric, presidency of Donald Trump, even as he continues his baffling and incomprehensible courtships of dictators in nuclear-armed Russian Federation and North Korea.

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Trump's continued complaints about France and Macron hit a nerve with some in the European nation, especially since Trump delivered his latest broadsides on the third anniversary of the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people in 2015. However, President Trump was there in spirit, as Macron warned about the dangers of confusing "nationalism" with "patriotism" - a clear reference the president's recent declarations that he is a "nationalist".

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