The US president seemed especially irked by Macron’s denunciation of nationalism, but he also got in a dig at French trade policy, accusing the country of discriminating against some American goods, AFP reported.
At a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice in Paris Sunday, Macron told assembled world leaders — including Trump — that “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”
“By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values,” Macron said.
Speaking at rallies for Republican candidates over the past month, Trump defended nationalism as a healthy impulse. He has made “America First” one of his catch phrases.
“The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%,” Trump tweeted in response. “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!”
“MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!” Trump added.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump fumed over Macron’s call for a “true European army” so the continent can defend itself without relying on the US.
“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the US, China and Russia,” Trump tweeted. “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 US came along. Pay for NATO or not!”
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also said on Tuesday that NATO was the cornerstone for the protection of Europe even as France and Germany called for an integrated European Union military.
Asked whether he supported an EU military, Mattis told reporters: “We see NATO as the cornerstone for the protection of Europe in the security realm and we fully support nations doing more to carry the load.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for an integrated European Union military, echoing language used by Macron last week that infuriated the US president.
Merkel told the European Parliament such an army would not undermine the US-led military alliance NATO but would be complementary to it, remarks that were met with loud applause in the legislature though also with boos from nationalist members.
In a radio interview last week, Macron said that Europe has to protect itself “with respect to China, Russia and even the United States.”
But, as The Washington Post points out, Macron was “actually referring to cybersecurity matters and fading multilateralism, rather than the military.”