Donald Trump tweet causes tension with President Macron ahead of WWI anniversary

Saturday, November 10, 2018

US President Donald Trump caused tension as he arrived in France on Friday, after tweeting about his host French President Emmanuel Macron.

President Trump tweeted that Macron "has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of Nato, which the US subsidises greatly!"

President Macron's office said President Trump misunderstood the comments.

Since Friday night, the two leaders have sought to diffuse tensions over the tweet ahead of the weekend marking 100 years since the end of the World War One.


'The standpoint of fairness' 

The leaders met at the Elysee Palace and, asked about the tweet, President Trump said President Macron "understands that the United States can only do so much", adding that the US wants to help.

President Trump added that he and President Macron are "getting along from the standpoint of fairness".

President Macron defended his viewpoint, saying: "I do share President Trump's views that we need a much better burden sharing with Nato and that's why I do believe that my proposal for a European defence is utterly consistent with that."

An official in President Macron's office said President Trump lumped together two different comments by the French president, and that the comments would be on the table for Saturday's meeting.

President Macron said in an interview earlier this week that Europe needs to protect itself against "China, Russia and even the United States" in terms of cyberspace.

Later, President Macron reiterated that Europe needs to build up its own military because it can no longer depend on the US for defence.

President Trump has made similar arguments, particularly in urging Nato's European members to increase its share of defence spending.

Both leaders flashed a thumbs-up to waiting reporters, but ignored their shouted questions about President Macron's remarks and President Trump's reaction.

President Trump will join other world leaders on Sunday for a ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe to mark the WWI centennial.