Trump rips Macron over trade, wine, his low approval ratings

Arturo Kim
November 19, 2018

Nursing grievances from a weekend visit to France, President Donald Trump lit into French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday over his suggestion for a European defence force, over French tariffs on US wine and even Macron's approval ratings.

President Donald Trump didn't make it to an official cemetery ceremony in France meant to honor the American soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the First World War.

"Between allies, we owe each other respect, and I don't want to hear the rest", Macron said in a live interview on TF1 television Wednesday aboard France's sole aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea.

Mr Trump had already berated Mr Macron in a tweet from Air Force One just as he landed in Paris, calling the French proposals for European defence "very insulting". "I will not have a debate with the President of the United States through tweets", he said, adding that Trump "is playing American politics, and I let him play American politics".

Brushing off Mr Trump's Twitter rants, Mr Macron continues to insist his idea for an EU army shows European willingness to meet U.S. demands that the bloc take its defence into its own hands.

"Every day our soldiers fight together, risk their lives together - that's the most important decision you take when you are president", Macron said.

He called for Europe to spend more money to become more independent from the US military umbrella, saying that "being allies doesn't mean being vassals". "Pay for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or not!"

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During the visit, Mr Macron criticised nationalists during his Armistice Day speech, saying patriotism was different to nationalism .

Trump's quick trip to Paris was in sharp contrast to the memorable visit of President Woodrow Wilson one century earlier, when he was hailed as a conquering hero, having brought America into The Great War on the Allied side in 1917 after three years of rigid neutrality.

He also emphasized the difference between patriotism and nationalism and pointed out that the first one is good and the latter is not.

Trump appeared to be upset over President Macron's sharp rebuke of rising nationalist sentiment, which Trump may have considered a personal attack on himself and his administration. He failed to persuade Mr Trump to keep the United States in... They were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along.

Trump previously touted a warm relationship with Macron.

France is the birthplace of a far-right brand of European nationalism - exemplified by the National Front, founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen - that anticipated Trump's politics by decades.

Although Mr Macron's response was restrained on Wednesday, his spokesman showed Mr Trump's criticism had struck a chord. Although the speech given by Macron was indirect and even pleaded to fellow leaders to continue to fight for order and peace.

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