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Donald Trump, Emanuel Macron dodge talk of ‘insult’ at Paris meet

November 10, 2018

President Trump met Saturday with French President Emanuel Macron in Paris, with both leaders avoiding public talk of Mr. Macron’s “insult” that the U.S. could pose a military threat.

They greeted each other with tight smiles at the lyse Palace after Mr. Trump ruffling feathers upon arrival Friday in France by tweeting that it was very insulting that Mr. Macron said Europe needed stronger military defense against “China, Russia and even the United States.”

Mr. Macron carefully avoided talking about it. He instead focused on NATO burden sharing, an area where he and Mr. Trump are on the same page and which bolsters his case for stronger French leadership in Europe.

Mr. Trump played along.

“We are getting along from the standpoint of fairness and to be fair, we want to help Europe but it has to be fair,” Mr. Trump said when a French reporter asked about the perceived insult. “The burden sharing has been largely on the United States, as the president will say.”

Mr. Macron stressed the alliance between their countries, including military strikes in Syria and fighting terrorism in Africa.

Mr. Trump is in France for events marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. More than 60 world leaders are in France for the occasion.

As soon as Mr. Trump arrived in France on Friday, he called out Mr. Macron.

“President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!” tweeted the president.

In a recent radio interview, Mr. Macron said Europe needed a strong military to defend itself without relying on the U.S. But he also lumped the U.S. in with China and Russia as possible aggressor nations.

When they met at the lyse Palace, the official presidential residence, Mr. Macron glossed over the dust-up with Mr. Trump.

“I do share President Trump’s views that we need better burden sharing with NATO and that’s why I believe my proposals for a European defense are consistent with that,” he said.

He added, “When President Trump wants to defend one of the states of the United States, he doesn’t ask France or Germany or other government of Europe to finance it.”

The two leaders early on shared an extremely friendly relationship that was on full display during a state visit in by Mr. Macron to the White House in April.

The relationship hit the rocks over Mr. Trump’s pullout from the Iran nuclear deal and other policy clashes.

“Our people are very proud to have you here,” Mr. Macron told Mr. Trump during their meeting.

Mr. Trump touted their friendship.

“We have become very good friends over the last couple of years,” he said. “We have much in common in many ways, perhaps more ways than people would understand but we are very much similar in our views.”

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