11 November, 2018
French President Emmanuel Macron's suggestion for a joint European army is "very insulting", Donald Trump said on Friday (Nov 9) on arriving in Paris for ceremonies to mark the end of World War 1. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the USA subsidizes greatly!" tweeted the president.
PARIS President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron worked to project unity today after Trump lashed out at Macron, saying he insulted the USA when he pushed the idea of Europe having its own defense force.
In a recent radio interview, Mr. Macron said Europe needed a strong military to defend itself without relying on the U.S. But he also lumped the U.S.in with China and Russian Federation as possible aggressor nations.
The World War I commemoration comes at a moment in which populist leaders across the globe are promoting nationalism, Theresa May's Britain is attempting to leave the European Union and the United States is pursuing isolation under Trump's America First vision.
He will also join around 70 other world leaders for a solemn ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Across the line that once marked the Western Front, leaders lauded the courage of soldiers who were killed during the unprecedented slaughter, before converging on Paris for a dinner.
The Elysee said the misunderstanding, which it said had been caused by "exaggerated" U.S. press reports, was cleared up during more than an hour of talks it described as "substantial" and "very constructive".
Trump said that Macron "understands that the United States can only do so much".
According to a French official who briefed reporters, the two presidents emerged from their hour-long meeting aligned on security matters after Macron explained his proposals.
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On Saturday morning, the USA president arrived at the Elysee Palace under rainy skies for talks with Macron.
An official in Macron's office said Trump lumped together two different comments by the French president, and that the comments would be on the table for Saturday's meeting.
Some saw Trump's no-show in Belleau Wood as a sign of disrespect to United States soldiers who fought and died in the trenches.
President Donald Trump meets with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Lotte New York Palace hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in New York.
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a press conference at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on November 7, 2018.
However, Trump canceled his visit because of bad weather.
"We want to make these commemorations a time to reflect on the present, not just the past, so that they have a meaning for us today", an aide to Macron said earlier this week.
The French official suggested that Trump had conflated two separate issues, that of the US withdrawal from the INF treaty and the resulting threat to European security, and the need to create an autonomous military force in Europe.
The tension overshadowed the two presidents' latest meeting Saturday at the French presidential palace. Among them: Russia's political meddling and military buildup, as well as a sense that Trump is abandoning US commitments to European allies.