President Trump sat down with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the importance of “a strong Europe” and growing terrorism issues across the world.
USA TODAYU.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Saturday.(Photo: LUDOVIC MARIN, AFP/Getty Images)PARIS – While preoccupied with issues at home, President Donald Trump sat down Saturday with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to discuss differences that revolve around Trump’s more nationalist approach to global problems.”We want to help Europe, but it has to be fair,” Trump told Macron just hours after he and his French host clashed over American defense commitments in Europe. “Right now, the burden sharing has been largely on the United States.”Macron, who has proposed creating a “European army” because of what he sees as wavering U.S. support, told Trump his idea backs up the American’s call for more burden sharing by Europe.”We need more European capacities, more European defense,” Macron said, speaking in both French and English.After Trump arrived at Elysee Palace on a gray and rainy morning, he and and Macron shook hands (briefly), smiled, and gave photographers thumbs-up signs, the morning after their very public clash about U.S. defense commitments in Europe.Things looked more tense before the actual meeting; Trump sat grim-faced as Macron smiled and gestured toward the U.S. president.While Trump traveled to Paris for World War I commemorations this weekend, his nationalistic criticism of long-standing global alliances – many of them built from the ashes of both world wars in the last century – has hovered over the proceedings.French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump meet at the Elysee Palace ahead of the international ceremony for the Centenary of the WWI Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918. Trump along with other Heads of States and Governments will join in the commemoration ceremonies for their countries’ fallen WW1 soldiers in France. (Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson / POOL, EPA-EFE)Just before Air Force One landed in Paris on Friday night, Trump tweeted criticism of Macron for his European army proposal, and again complained that European partners in the NATO military alliance are not paying enough for their own defense.The president is among some 60 world leaders in France to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. In an early morning tweet, Trump said, “is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?”The bilateral Macron-Trump meeting came a day before celebrations kickoff at the Arc de Triomphe for a ceremony to honor the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.Other World War I ceremonies are taking place throughout France and Europe this week, some involving Trump – though he canceled a trip Saturday to the Ainse-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial due to what a White House statement called “scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather.”An American delegation led by Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford attended the cemetery ceremony instead.On Saturday night, the U.S. president and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to attend a ceremonial dinner at Musee D’Orsay, the former train station turned into an iconic Impressionism art museum on the banks of the Seine river.Domestic issues are also on the president’s mind, less than a week after Democrats won control of the U.S. House in congressional elections on Tuesday, and after Trump dismissed Attorney General Jeff Sessions the next day.Before departing for Elysse Palace and his meeting with Macron, Trump tweeted support for his new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, the subject of criticism for his attacks on the special counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.Trump tweeted complaints about California wildfires, saying the reason is that “forest management is so poor.”AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideWhile Macon has made a priority of getting along with the U.S. president, the French leader has also criticized Trump for pulling out of international agreements, including the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate change accord.Officials in Europe have also questioned Trump’s desire to befriend Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is threatening other countries and seeking to undermine the western alliance.In recent days, Macron criticized Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a 1987 arms control deal designed to prohibit Russia from developing mid-range missiles capable of reaching Western European cities.CLOSE
As he departed for Paris Friday morning, President Trump insisted that a White House-released video depicting contact between a staffer and a CNN reporter wasn’t altered, and he again attacked a number of journalists, calling one “a loser.” (Nov. 9)
APThat move inspired Macron’s call for a European army. In an interview with Europe 1 radio, he said such a force may be needed because “we have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America.”Trump’s tweeted response while landing in Paris: “President Macron of France 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!”Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said Macron’s idea is reasonable because Trump has questioned the need for NATO’s “Article 5” requirement that all members of the alliance will come to the aid of any member that is attacked.It “is not insulting but rather what you get when the Potus raises doubts about NATO’s Article 5, slaps tariffs on allies, calls the EU a foe, cozies up to Putin, signals support for the National Front, and unilaterally breaks w int’l pacts,” Haass tweeted.At the heart of the dispute is Trump’s self-proclaimed “America First” foreign policy, and his claim that he is a “nationalist.”French President Emmanuel Macron greets President Donald Trump upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Saturday. Trump along with other heads of state and governments will attend the commemoration ceremonies for their countries’ fallen WW1 soldiers in France. (Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson / POOL, EPA-EFE)Celia Belin, visiting fellow and expert in French politics with The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said Trump’s brand of nationalism is worrisome to global leaders who fear that Americans “do not feel they need to lead the world anymore.””America First” and other forms of nationalism could encourage “rogue regimes” to threaten their neighbors, Belin said, though the situation is not yet dire.”The United States is still the dominant power out there – the Atlantic alliance is still alive,” Belin said. “But his (Trump’s) foreign policy weakened some of the elements.”Trump and his supporters equate nationalism with patriotism, and opposition to a form of “globalism” that puts the United States at a disadvantage.Critics say that despots throughout history have promoted a brand of nationalism designed to have their country impose power on others, often with a racial and ethnic components.It’s the kind of nationalism that says “I care only about my people, they are special and have a right to look out only for themselves and to do what they want to anyone else,” said Margaret MacMillan, professor of history at the University of Toronto and author of “Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World.””I think Trump’s kind of nationalism is closer to that end of the spectrum,” she said.Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, and first lady Melania Trump pose at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on Saturday. President Donald Trump is joining other world leaders at centennial commemorations in Paris this weekend to mark the end of World War I. (Photo: Thibault Camus, AP)Macron and other world leaders have also described the rise of nationalism on their continent, including Poland and Hungary.Trump and Macron have often made a show of getting along — this is Trump’s second special visit to Paris, following last year’s attendance at the Bastille Day parade — and tried to do so again on Saturday.There have also been some tense moments. Most famously, at their first meeting in 2017, Trump and Macron appeared to engage in a macho handshaking contest to determine who could make the toughest grip.Saturday’s handshakes looked brief and pro forma, even as photographers snapped shots of clasped hands. Before their meeting, Macron smiled and often touched Trump on the shoulder as he thanked him for the visit to Paris.Trump also complimented Macron, but mostly wore a frown and did not return his host’s pats on the back.Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/11/10/donald-trump-france-veterans-day/1942830002/
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