Thursday 13 December 2018

Donald Trump’s jibes at Emmanuel Macron prompt French backlash

Sports stars joined the government spokesman in hitting back at the US president.

U.S President Donald Trump, second left, watches French President Emmanuel Macron putting his hand on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s knee (Francois Mori/AP)
U.S President Donald Trump, second left, watches French President Emmanuel Macron putting his hand on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s knee (Francois Mori/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

France’s government has fired back at a flurry of critical tweets by Donald Trump, suggesting the US president lacked “common decency” by launching his broadside on a day when France was mourning victims of the November 2015 terror attacks.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said on Wednesday: “We were commemorating the assassination of 130 of our compatriots three years ago in Paris and Saint-Denis, and so I will reply in English: ‘Common decency’ would have been appropriate.”

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French President Emmanuel Macron, right, puts his hands on US President Donald Trump’s knee (Christophe Petit Tesson/AP)

Nursing grievances from a weekend visit to France, Mr Trump tore into French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday over his suggestion for a European defence force, over French tariffs on US wine and even Mr Macron’s approval ratings.

The tweets underscored tensions between the once-friendly leaders and displayed Mr Trump’s irritation over criticism of how he acted in France.

“Diplomacy is not made through tweets but through bilateral discussions”, Mr Macron said during Wednesday’s weekly Cabinet meeting in comments reported by Mr Griveaux.

The French and the American leaders met on Saturday in Paris before ceremonies commemorating the centenary of the armistice of the First World War.

Since Mr Macron’s election last year and their first white-knuckle handshake at a Nato summit, they have had an up-and-down relationship.

Mr Macron called Mr Trump “my good friend” in front of reporters this weekend and their meeting was described as cordial by the French presidency.

Mr Trump’s tweet that said “Make France Great Again!” revived French national pride on social media.

Many replied by recalling France’s World Cup victory in July, 20 years after winning its first title.

France player Benjamin Mendy replied “don’t worry bro”, placing two stars in his tweet to signify the country’s two World Cup victories.

Many others posted photos and reference to the football victory.

French decathlon champion Kevin Mayer tweeted “work in progress, dear Donald”, posting a photo of his recent world record, beating US athlete Ashton Eaton’s previous mark.

Press Association

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