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Donald Trump Taunts Macron: 'No Country More Nationalist than France'

15 November 2018
Donald Trump Taunts Macron: 'No Country More Nationalist than France'

Donald Trump on Tuesday unleashed an extraordinary attack on Emmanuel Macron, mocking the French president's approval rating and lashing him over European defense proposals, on the heels of a rocky trip to Paris to mark the World War I centenary.

The attacks by the Islamic State were the most lethal in the country since World War II.

Trump's tweets underscored tensions between the once-chummy leaders and displayed the USA president's irritation over criticism of how he acted in France.

Trump called Macron's idea "very insulting", tweeting that Europe should "first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the United States subsidises greatly".

But Trump's Tuesday remarks appear to come in response not to Macron's Armistice Day insults, but to comments Macron made in a television interview back on November 6th, where he called for a "true European army", separate from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, funded and maintained by the European Union.

"Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism", Macron proclaimed, adding, "By saying, 'Our interests first, who cares about the others, ' we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values". She underscored that such a force would not mean the end of the USA -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance.

Trump complains that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries, including France, are not paying their share of the defense alliance's expenses.

"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism".

His reaction is the strongest yet by the French government following Mr Trump's visit to France over the weekend.

Trump also complained Tuesday (local time) about tariffs on United States wines sold in France, saying it's "not fair, must change!"

When pressed, Macron dismissed Trump's comments as an attempt to play to a domestic audience, in the wake of Trump's losses in mid-terms elections.

Still, in his tweets on Wednesday, Mr Trump criticised France, accusing it of imposing unfair trade tariffs, and Mr Macron of trying to divert attention from what the USA president described as a "very low Approval Rating" and the French unemployment figures. "Not fair, must change!"

Speaking of trade, Trump said that "France makes excellent wine, but so does the US".

Trump, a former businessman, opened a winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2011.

Trump already has a poor reputation in France, with 65% of voters viewing him negatively (a decrease of 16 points lower from last year's survey), according to an Odoxa agency poll for Le Figaro newspaper.

Within just an hour of making that comment, Putin told other reporters that he did in fact briefly meet with Mr. Trump.

On Saturday, Macron acknowledged at a meeting with Trump that Europe should increase its defense spending within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and called on other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states to boost their national expenditures on defense, following France's example, which adopted a plan providing for raising the country's defense budget to 2 percent of GDP.

Many people had taken Macron's comments during the World War I commemoration to be directed toward Trump, speaking harshly against "nationalism" after the USA leader described himself as a "nationalist". Trump has embraced the "nationalist" label despite its negative connotations.

"Yesterday was November 13, we were marking the murder of 130 of our people", Griveaux said.

Since Mr Macron's election previous year and their first white-knuckle handshake at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, they have had an up-and-down relationship.

Trump was also criticized for failing to attend a moment of silence at the Aisne-Marne American cemetery and memorial at Belleau, located around 100 kilometers northeast of Paris, due to adverse weather conditions.