Thursday 19 September 2019

French president requests respect following Trump’s tweets

Emmanuel Macron said ‘the French don’t expect from me to answer to tweets’.

Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris (Thibault Camus/AP)
Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris (Thibault Camus/AP)

By Sylvie Corbet, Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron has said France and the United States must respect each other in response to a flurry of critical tweets by Donald Trump.

Mr Macron said in an interview with French television channel TF1 from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier off the coast of southern France that “the French don’t expect from me to answer to tweets”.

Mr Trump laid into Mr Macron on Tuesday over his suggestion for a European defence force, French tariffs on US wine and even Mr Macron’s approval ratings.

Asked whether Mr Trump’s four tweets were unpleasant and inelegant, the French leader answered: “You summed up everything.”

He said he thinks that Mr Trump “is doing American politics and I let him do American politics”.

“To be honest, I don’t do diplomacy or politics through tweets and comments,” he added.

Earlier, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux suggested that the US president lacked “common decency” by launching his broadside on a day when France was mourning victims of the November 2015 attacks in Paris.

“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,” Mr Griveaux said.

Mr Trump’s tweets underscored tensions between the once-chummy leaders and displayed the US president’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 American leaders met on Saturday in Paris before ceremonies commemorating a century since 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 on Tuesday 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.

PA Media

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