Trump slams Macron for ‘insulting’ plan to build up Europe’s military

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 10, 2018

President Donald Trump began a weekend visit to Paris with an attack on his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, for proposing Europe create its own continental military force. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the USA subsidizes greatly!" the United States president tweeted on Wednesday evening.

President Trump, who is visiting France with his wife, Melania, for the second time since becoming president, was referring to a call made by President Macron on Tuesday for a "real European army".

"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America", Macron argued.

Emmanuel Macron initially tried to position himself as a sort of "Trump whisperer".

Macron also suggested that since the start of Trump's presidency, the USA has been seen as a less reliable ally.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, said on Friday in Paris that the United States was concerned about stability in Europe and that Trump was not shirking from global engagement. "We must have a Europe that can defend itself more, without just relying on the U.S".

Arriving in Paris for a World War One Armistice Day centenary celebration, Trump fired off a note on Twitter saying Macron had just "suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russian Federation".

However, on other occasions, Trump has said that the USA remains committed to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation despite concerns over its funding.

Earlier this summer, Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Europe, which retaliated with similar duties on American products including bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is a long-time supporter of the idea the European Union should have more common defense capability.

The Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran over European opposition, blacklisting hundreds of Iranian firms and individuals.

"We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army", he continued. That effort hasn't yet yielded results, and the Trump administration has warned that countries hosting a so-called "special objective vehicle" to subvert the sanctions could face penalties themselves. While Republicans slightly expanded their majority in the US Senate, they lost control of the US House of Representatives to Democrats who may use their newfound power to launch investigations into Trump and stymie his agenda. European leaders say maintaining trade ties is essential to keep Iran from exiting the deal and restarting development of nuclear weapons.

The White House and the Kremlin had previously considered a formal meeting in Paris.

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