Donald Trump

Trump mocks France’s world war losses, ridicules Macron’s approval rating in tweet storm

  • US president also slammed French import rules, which he said add ‘big tariffs’ to American wines
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 9:49pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 10:48pm

US President Donald Trump continued to verbally spar on Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron over his call for a “true European army”, reminding him of the US military’s role in helping France in the first and second world wars.

“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the US, China and Russia,” Trump said in a morning tweet. “But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along.”

In a radio interview last week, Macron called for a “true European army” so the continent can defend itself without relying on the United States – comments that first drew Trump’s ire as he flew to Paris on Friday for a centennial commemoration of the end of the first world war with other world leaders.

In the interview with French radio station Europe 1, Macron noted that Russia “is at our borders” and said he would like to “start a security dialogue” with the nation.

In another part of the interview, Macron said that Europe has to protect itself “with respect to China, Russia and even the United States”. But in that portion of the radio interview, Macron was referring to cybersecurity matters and fading multilateralism, rather than the military – a detail missing from many news wires stories.

In his first tweet on Friday, sent while on Air Force One, Trump said he found Macron’s comments “very insulting” and said France should “first pay its fair share of Nato”.

On Tuesday, Trump accused Macron of trying to divert attention away from his domestic woes: “The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%. He was just trying to get onto another subject. By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!” he tweeted.

The US president wrapped up his critique of the French leader with a call to “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!”

Macron’s office said it refused to comment on any of Trump’s tweets criticising the French president. It added that it was good that Trump remembers European history.

In an apparent rebuke to Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday also called for a European army.

“What is really important, if we look at the developments of the past year, is that we have to work on a vision of one day creating a real, true European army,” Merkel told a session of the European Parliament, drawing widespread applause.

Trump has long been irritated at countries in the Nato alliance that do not spend at least 2 per cent of their gross domestic product on their militaries, claiming that the United States has had to subsidise the defence spending of other nations.

In his tweets on Tuesday, Trump again referenced France’s spending, writing: “Pay for Nato or not!”

He also slammed France’s rules for importing American wine.

“On Trade, France makes excellent wine, but so does the U.S. The problem is that France makes it very hard for the U.S. to sell its wines into France, and charges big Tariffs, whereas the U.S. makes it easy for French wines, and charges very small Tariffs. Not fair, must change!” he wrote.

Trump also blamed the Secret Service for him not being able to visit war graves because of heavy rain – misspelling cemetery at the same time.

“By the way, when the helicopter couldn’t fly to the first cemetery in France because of almost zero visibility, I suggested driving. Secret Service said NO, too far from airport & big Paris shutdown. Speech next day at American Cemetary in pouring rain! Little reported-Fake News!”

In a speech at the first world war commemoration, Macron delivered a forceful rebuke against rising nationalism, calling it a “betrayal of patriotism” and warning against “old demons coming back to wreak chaos and death”.

French army trolls Donald Trump with photo of them training in the rain

While his words were intended for a global audience, they also were widely seen in part as a rebuke of Trump, who recently described himself as a “nationalist”.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse, Reuters