'Allies owe each other respect,' Macron says of Trump tweets


Donald Trump's tweets landed like transatlantic missiles in Emmanuel Macron's backyard. "Pay for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or not!", US President tweeted as soon as he returned to the White House from a ceremony in Paris that marked the 100th anniversary of the allied victory in World War I.

In a series of earlier tweets, Mr Trump launched an attack on Mr Macron over his "very low approval rating" and issued a gibe at France's defeat and occupation by Nazi Germany in World War Two. He also mocked Macron's approval rating, which stands below 30 percent.

Trump posted the tweets after returning to Washington from a weekend in Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One where strained relations between the American president and European allies were on full display. Trump has repeatedly used the term to describe himself in recent weeks.

With Trump's principal critic in the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, preparing to leave the political stage, Macron is emerging as Trump's most prominent and outspoken rival.

Mr Trump, referring to the push for a European military, tweeted that Mr Macron was "just trying to get onto another subject".

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Brushing off Mr Trump's Twitter rants, Mr Macron continues to insist his idea for an EU army shows European willingness to meet United States demands that the bloc take its defence into its own hands.

Trump's tweets included a fresh complaint about Macron's recent suggestion that Europe build up its militaries because the continent can no longer depend on the USA for defence. The French unemployment rate is actually closer to 9 per cent.

More broadly, Macron's response and his initial provocation of Trump by denouncing nationalism show that the French leader realizes that politics is about much more than personalities.

Even as relations have soured, Mr Macron has promised to keep talking with the USA president.

The US president's call to "make France great again" also came in for mockery from Benjamin Mendy, the Manchester City defender who was in France's World Cup winning football team. Trump responded with a wide smile.

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"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism", Macron said, adding that, when nations put their interests first and decide "who cares about the others" they "erase the most precious thing a nation can have ... its moral values".

Addressing the incident three days later he tweeted: "By the way, when the helicopter couldn't fly to the first cemetery in France because of nearly zero visibility, I suggested driving".

Trump stayed in his Paris hotel room during a memorial ceremony Saturday at an American cemetery for the war's dead only 50 miles away because of rain that did not stop other Allied leaders from attending.

"The idea of a European army is going way too far for the Netherlands", Mr Rutte said at his weekly post-cabinet press conference. Little reported-Fake News!

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