President Trump lashed out at France — the whole country, as well as its president, Emmanuel Macron — Tuesday, two days after returning from a trip to Paris to commemorate the end of World War I.
Trump 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 American wines.
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 U.S.
“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., 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 U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”
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.”
Trump wasn’t done insulting America’s oldest ally.
“On Trade, France makes excellent wine, but so does the U.S.,” the famous teetotaler Trump tweeted. “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!”
The president owns a winery in Virginia that is managed by his son Eric.
The president also addressed his controversial absence at an American cemetery in Belleau, France, on Saturday. The White House said that bad weather grounded Marine One, and “a car ride of two and a half hours, each way, would have required closures to substantial portions of the Paris roadways for the president’s motorcade, on short notice.”
The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial is located about 50 miles from Paris.
“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday.
In a tweet, Trump suggested the Secret Service made the decision, not him.
“When the helicopter couldn’t fly to the first cemetery in France because of almost zero visibility, I suggested driving,” the president tweeted. “Secret Service said NO, too far from airport & big Paris shutdown. Speech next day at American Cemetary [sic] in pouring rain! Little reported-Fake News!”
Trump’s speech was carried live on all three cable news networks.