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Trump ramps up Macron spat by mocking France in world wars

November 14,2018 03:21

Donald Trump ramped up his spat with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, with a denigrating tweet in which he said Parisians had started to learn German during the second world war before the US saved them from occupation.


Donald Trump ramped up his spat with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, with a denigrating tweet in which he said Parisians had started to learn German during the second world war before the US saved them from occupation.

The US president’s Tuesday morning tweet exacerbates his standoff with Macron following his visit to Paris over the weekend that was marred by his controversial behavior.
Trump’s outburst came as France marked the third anniversary of the 2015 Bataclan terror attack in which a coordinated wave of suicide bombings and gun attacks left nearly 130 people dead.
In the tweet Trump repeated his accusation that Macron had called for a European army as protection against the US – an apparent misreading of Macron’s earlier comments.
He followed soon after with a second caustic tweet in which he accused France of unfair trade practices over imports and exports of French and US wine.
The biting words represent an escalation of the attack Trump made on Friday in which he said Macron had been “very insulting” by suggesting Europe needed its own army to protect itself against the US, China and Russia. Trump appeared to be conflating, however, Macron’s desire to strengthen Europe’s military forces – an ambition Trump himself has demanded as he seeks to reduce US contributions to Nato – and comments made by the French president in a radio interview about the threat of cyber-hacking from other countries including the US.
Guy Verhofstadt, the chief representative for the European parliament on Brexit, shot back at Trump.
“What Trump doesn’t seem to realize is that without French money, the USA would not even exist as France financed the American revolution. They even gave you the Statue of Liberty to celebrate this!” Verhofstadt tweeted.
Trump has also been riled by Macron’s warning on Sunday, at a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, about the thrust of global politics. Macron, clearly with Trump partly in mind, denounced those who embrace nationalism and put “our interests first”, adding that “our demons are resurfacing”.
In a rally in Houston, Texas in the final days of this month’s US midterm elections, Trump called himself a “nationalist”. One of his mantras throughout his political rise has been “America first”.

Sign up for the new US morning briefingOn Tuesday morning, the president’s tweetstorm continued. He said Macron was suffering low approval ratings while France suffers from high unemployment, then added: “By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France…”
He finished the sequence by taunting, in capitals: “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!”
Asked to comment, the office of the French president said it had nothing to say about the tweets. It said Macron had made his points about a European army and European defence very clear to Trump during talks in Paris.
Macron is not the only French element engaging in a social media dispute with Trump. On Monday the French army waded in, expertly playing the US president at his own game – trolling him.
Alluding to Trump’s decision to cancel a visit to an American cemetery outside Paris during his official visit because of rain, the Armée de Terre posted a picture on its official Twitter feed of a soldier training in a downpour. It said: “Il y a de la pluie, mais c’est pas grave [it is raining, but it is not a big deal].”
Macron’s advisers have a longstanding policy on not commenting on any of Trump’s tweets. In Paris, officials have indicated that Trump’s tweets are different to the real relationship between the French and US leaders.
One adviser to Macron stressed that Trump and Macron speak several times a week by phone on all subjects. Trump was also the first world leader to meet Macron at the Elysée on the weekend of the armistice commemorations – for a bilateral meeting on Saturday – an important gesture that showed the importance of the Paris-Washington relationship, officials said.
In the tweets, Trump lambasted Macron for low popularity ratings. Macron, who was elected president last May after beating the far-right Marine Le Pen, has seen his approval ratings fall to below 30% as French voters complained his promised “transformation” of France was not fixing their daily difficulties in making ends meet. Although Macron’s popularity ratings have fallen in France’s regular flurry of opinion polls, his centrist party still dominates the French parliament and can easily pass all legislation.
Trump’s relationship with Macron – who is the same age as his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr – began last year with Trump repeatedly praising Macron as a “winner”.
An adviser to Macron stressed that the French president hadclearly explained his position on a more integrated European defence system, stressing that France was not making a choice between a European defence mechanism and multilateral organisations such as Nato. In recent months, Macron has warned that Europe can no longer depend on the US for its military defence and called for an urgent new European security policy.
Trump also tweeted about the fact that he didn’t attend the cemetery ceremony in the rain, saying he had suggested driving there but secret service officers advised against it.
• This article was amended on 13 November 2018 to change our translation of “c’est pas grave” from “it’s not serious” to “it is not a big deal”, which is a more idiomatic translation.

Donald Trump,Emmanuel Macron,France,US news,World news,Europe

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