Donald Trump criticized Emmanuel Macron on his arrival in Paris and said it was "very offensive" that the French president had suggested that Europe needed an army to defend itself from the US.
When Air Force One landed in France, where Trump joins the world leaders to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, US President Macron criticized statements made by the French head of state on Tuesday about the need for a true European army.
"We need to protect ourselves against China, Russia and even the United States of America," Macron said on Tuesday, the day of the US midterm elections, while he fought in a first place in the First World War.
When Mr. Trump flew to Paris, he was White House Tweeted that the "historic alliance" between the two Allies was "thanks to the close bond" between Mr. Trump and his French counterpart. However, shortly before Mr Trump left Paris, he criticized him on Twitter.
"President Macron. , , has just proposed that Europe build its own military to protect itself from the US, China and Russia, "said Trump twittered from Air Force One. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US heavily subsidizes!"
Mr Macron based his statement on the argument that the US was threatening to withdraw from the Nuclear Intermediate Range Treaty, an arms control agreement dating from 1987 that helped end the Cold War, which would endanger Europe's security.
The US has agreed to withdraw from the INF Treaty because they believe that Russia, the only other country bound by the agreement, is cheating on the agreement – a charge that is equivalent to Moscow in Washington. The Trump government believes that the US should not be restricted by a treaty that does not apply to China and other countries if Russia does not stick to the arms control pact.
The last blow between Mr. Trump and another world leader came after several months in which the US President had largely refrained from criticizing Europe and its leaders. While campaigning for Republican Party candidates in the months leading up to US midterm elections, Mr. Trump instead criticized China over its trade surplus with America.
Trump's gentler rhetoric towards Europe in recent months was partly due to the trade war he had reached in July with Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission. In recent weeks, however, some European countries have feared that it would revive the idea of introducing tariffs on foreign imports, which would hit Germany particularly hard.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Trump interrupted a Japanese reporter when he asked a question and – after telling the journalist to say "Shinzo" in a reference to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – he said, "I'm sure, I'm I appreciate the fares for its cars. "In September, Japan agreed to open trade talks to convince Mr. Trump not to charge car fares.
The allegation made by Mr Macron, who will host Mr Trump over the weekend, comes months after he amazed the heads of government at a NATO summit in Belgium by tearing German defense spending into the mouth of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He has often prevailed against Germany and several other European nations because he did not get the commitment to spend 2 percent of his gross domestic product on defense.
Follow Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter: @dimi