President Trump spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the importance of a "strong Europe" and the growing problems of terrorism around the world.
PARIS – While tackling the issues at home, Donald Trump sat down with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Saturday to discuss the differences that relate to Trump's more nationalist approach to global issues.
"We want to help Europe, but it has to be fair," Trump said just hours after his collision with his French hosts on American defense commitments in Europe. "At present, the burden sharing is mainly affected by the United States."
Macron, who had suggested creating a "European army" because of his wavering US backing, said Trump's idea supported the American's demand for more burden sharing across Europe.
"We need more European capacity, more European defense," Macron said in French and English.
After Trump arrived at the Elysée Palace on a gray and rainy morning, he shook hands with Macron (for a moment), smiled, and gave the photographer the morning of their very public clash over US defense commitments in Europe.
Things looked tighter before the actual meeting; Trump sat scowling as Macron smiled and pointed at the US president.
While Trump traveled to Paris for World War I to commemorate the First World War this weekend, his nationalist critique of long-standing global alliances – many of them from the ashes of both world wars of the last century – was in the process.
French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump will meet at the Elysée Palace prior to the international ceremony marking the centenary of the ceasefire on 11 November 1918. Trump will join other leaders in commemorating their countries. Fallen soldiers of the First World War in France. (Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson / POOL, EPA-EFE)
Just before the Air Force One landed in Paris on Friday night, Trump tweeted criticism of Macron for his proposal of the European army and reiterated that the European partners of the NATO military alliance are not paying enough for their own defense.
The President is one of around 60 world leaders in France on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. In an early morning tweet, Trump said, "Is there anything better than celebrating the end of a war, especially one that was one of the bloodiest and worst of times?"
The bilateral Macron Trump meeting took place the day before the opening ceremony of the Arc de Triomphe celebrating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
More World War I ceremonies are taking place across France and Europe this week, some of them involving Trump, even though he canceled a trip to the Ainse-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial on Saturday. "
An American delegation led by Chief of Staff John Kelly and Chief of Staff Joe Dunford took part in the cemetery ceremony instead.
On Saturday night, US President and First Lady Melania Trump are expected to attend a formal dinner at the Musee D & # 39; Orsay. The former train station became an iconic impressionism art museum on the banks of the Seine.
Domestic affairs also deal with the president. Less than a week after Democrats gained control of the US House in the congressional elections on Tuesday, and after Trump dismissed Attorney General Jeff Sessions the next day.
Prior to joining the Elysse Palace and meeting with Macron, Trump tweeted his support for his new incumbent Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who was criticized for his attacks on investigations into Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump tweeted complaints about forest fires in California and said the reason was that "forest management is so bad".
While Macon had to deal primarily with the US president, the French head of state Trump has also criticized because he has given up international agreements such as the nuclear agreement with Iran and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Officials in Europe have also questioned Trump's desire to befriend Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is threatening other countries and trying to undermine the Western alliance.
In recent days, Macron has criticized Trump's decision to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Range (INF) Treaty, an arms control agreement dating back to 1987 that would ban Russia from developing medium-range missiles capable of reaching Western European cities.
Leaving Paris on Friday morning, President Trump insisted that a video released by the White House show no contact between an employee and a CNN reporter, and he again attacked several journalists, calling " Loser". (9th of November)
This move inspired Macron's call for a European army. In an interview with Radio Europe 1, he said such a force might be needed because "we need to protect ourselves in China, Russia and even the United States of America."
Trump's tweeted answer when landing in Paris: "French President Macron has just proposed that Europe build its own military to protect itself from the US, China and Russia – very offensive, but perhaps Europe should first get its fair share of the Paying NATO that heavily subsidizes the US! "
Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the idea of Macron was reasonable because Trump questioned NATO's "Article 5" condition that all members of the Alliance should come to the aid of any attacked member.
It is not insulting, but rather what you get when the potus raises doubts about Article 5 of NATO, beats allies, calls the EU into an enemy, engages in Putin, signals the support of the National Front and unilaterally breaks pacts ", Haass tweeted.
At the center of the dispute is Trump's self-styled foreign policy "America First" and his claim that he is a "nationalist".
Celia Belin, visiting scholar and expert on French politics at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, said Trump's nationalism is worrisome to global leaders who fear that Americans "do not think they need to lead the world any more".
"America First" and other forms of nationalism could encourage "rogue regimes" to threaten their neighbors, Belin said, although the situation is not yet bleak.
"The United States is still the dominant power – the Alliance in the Atlantic is still alive," Belin said. "But his (Trump's) foreign policy has weakened some elements."
Trump and his supporters equate nationalism with patriotism and resistance to a form of "globalism" that penalizes the United States.
Critics say that throughout history, despots have promoted a nationalism that is destined to impose power on others, often with a racial and ethnic component.
It's a kind of nationalism that says, "I'm only interested in my people, they are special and have the right to just look for themselves and do whatever they want with each other," said Margaret MacMillan, a professor of History at the University of Washington Toronto and author of "Paris 1919: Six Months That Have Changed the World".
"I think Trump's nationalism is closer to this end of the spectrum," she said.
Macron and other world leaders have also described the rise of nationalism on their continent, including Poland and Hungary.
Trump and Macron have often shown that they get along well – this is Trump's second special visit to Paris after last year's visit to the Bastille Day parade – and tried again on Saturday.
There were also some exciting moments. At their first meeting in 2017, Trump and Macron seemed to be involved in a macho handshake competition to find out who could get the hardest grip.
The handshakes on Saturday looked brief and pro forma, even as photographers shot their hands. Before the meeting, Macron smiled and often touched Trump's shoulder while thanking him for visiting Paris.
Trump was also a compliment to Macron, but mostly wore a frown and did not return to the host.
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