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Trump criticizes Macron again over European defense remarks

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 10, 2018 US President Donald Trump (L) speaks with French president Emmanuel Macron prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on the sidelines of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I. – US President Donald Trump mocked Emmanuel Macron November 13, 2018 for his “very low” 26 percent approval rating, saying the French president only suggested creating a European army to “get onto another subject.” “The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France,” Trump tweeted after criticizing Macron for advocating a European army to protect the continent from Russia, China and the United States.”By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!” the US leader tweeted. “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!” (Photo by Christophe Petit-Tesson / AFP)

Donald Trump on Tuesday launched another attack against Emmanuel Macron over the French president’s call for a European army, a proposal the US leader earlier had dubbed “insulting.”

“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?” Trump tweeted.

“They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along,” Trump said. “Pay for NATO or not!”

The Republican president has repeatedly lambasted European allies for not spending enough on their militaries, particularly Germany.

Macron had angered Trump by saying Europe needed its own army and listing the US along with Russia and China as a threat to European security.

One of dozens of world leaders attending World War I commemorations in France this weekend, Trump tweeted after landing in Paris that Macron’s call for a “real European army” was “insulting.”

In an interview recorded on Saturday with CNN after talks with Trump, Macron said the two leaders had spoken about what his office has portrayed as a misunderstanding.

Both leaders agree there should be “better burden-sharing within NATO,” meaning Europe should be less reliant on US spending for its defense, Macron said.

But Macron told CNN: “To be very direct with you, what I don’t want to see is European countries increasing the budget in defense in order to buy American and other arms or materials coming from your industry.”

US officials have stressed that Washington is fully committed to the NATO alliance despite Trump’s comments.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg meanwhile has welcomed stronger EU efforts on defense that could strengthen the alliance — but warned against duplicating its work while potentially undermining transatlantic ties.


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