Over the past week, Trump and Macron’s friendship has been emerging towards a crumbling end. Having two leaders not backing down or coming forward with a civil agreement is damaging for each side. Can both leaders overcome what has transpired, or will it be too late?
President Trump’s visit to France over the Remembrance Day weekend seems to have not been an eventful time. Before the events began, Trump met personally with Macron to discuss certain matters. One matter they discussed was how Macron thought the EU needed an army to grasp threats from Russia, China, and America. During the talk, Trump looked very uncomfortable, as if he did not want to be around the French leader. With Macron considering America a threat, friendship that both had created seemed to be dwindling. However, before the meeting, Macrons camp said people did not understand precisely what the president had said. They denied the comments of Macron indicating France needed an army against the United States. Trump would have still seen the statement as a threat since those words had been expressed. These examples of tension would play out for the rest of his visit to France. Unfortunately, the tension would not get better and later lead to more tweets and statements from both parties. Due to the hostility felt, Trump would not make it for an American military cemetery tour. In a sense, Trump was making a statement by not showing up while other leaders paid their respects. Instead of attending, Trump was apparently at the US ambassadors headquarters dealing with meetings that he would not speak on.
World leaders visited France on November 11 for the 100th anniversary of WWI concluding. Most leaders arrived on a bus together, but Trump was not a part of that grouping. The American president arrived with first lady Melania while trying to acknowledge other leaders. President Trump looked emotionless while Macron spoke saying that ‘nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.’
During a speech in Texas, Trump declared himself a nationalist because he wants to fend off “corrupt, power-hungry globalists.”Trump continued saying “we’re putting Americans first, it hasn’t happened in a lot of decades.” The ideology that Trump holds is that Americans need to take care of themselves before worrying about other nations. However, having this nationalistic attitude could get mixed up with patriotism itself. Trump seems to be incorporating both ideologies into what he is trying to convey. The president is sticking up for his own country and wants to see it thrive before worrying about other nations.
On November 10, during an interview for “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Macron had some interesting remarks on what Trump had tweeted previously on European military. “I always prefer having direct discussions or answering questions than making my diplomacy through tweets,” Macron said. The French president wants to discuss significant issues in person with Trump, rather than hearing about it on Twitter. Mr. Macron also commented on the talk Trump shared with him while visiting. Here, there is a slight dig at the president ever since he called himself a nationalist.
“He is in favour of a better burden-sharing within NATO. I agree with that. And I think that in order to have a better burden-sharing, all of us do need more Europe.”
Trump waited until Tuesday to unleash a firestorm of tweets against the military Macron had discussed.
“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. “But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two — How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along.”
The defense system was not the only attack Trump would make, Macrons approval ratings were discussed over another tweet.
“The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%. He was just trying to get onto another subject. By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!”
Trump accused Macron of having a meager approval rating due to a 10% unemployment rate. The president thought Macron was attacking him to change the subject on what he might not have been fulfilling for the French citizens. Nationalism came up again in his tweet, showing that Trump perhaps was holding a grudge against the French leader. By calling France nationalist, Mr. Trump was heating a flame that was burning at a significant rate. Lastly, Trump would take one final stab at France for making it hard for Americans to trade wine.
“On Trade, France makes excellent wine, but so does the U.S.” The problem is that France makes it very hard for the U.S. to sell its wines into France, and charges big Tariffs, whereas the U.S. makes it easy for French wines, and charges very small Tariffs. Not fair, must change!”
After Trump unleashed these ever so personal tweets, Macrons camp replied soon after. Macron was interviewed Wednesday while on the Charles de Gaulle carrier and was pretty diplomatic towards Trump. “I do not do policy or diplomacy by tweets. Mr. Trump’s tweets were aimed at his domestic constituency. He is doing American politics,” Macron said.
Macron’s camp did not respond on Tuesday since they were commemorating the murder of 130 people during the Paris attacks three years ago. Mr. Macron did not react due to these circumstances alone and said that “common decency would have been the appropriate thing.” However, he did comment on the defense military he had once discussed before. Mr. Macron concluded that France was not going against their alliance with the United States but stated that it would benefit other European countries who might need emergency assistance.
Each leader is taking these statements personally, which can be seen in both responses every time. While Trump is taking the presidents words as a threat, Macron is coming back with diplomacy but is still blunt. With both world leaders throwing punches at one another, will their friendship and alliance indeed be null and void?