President Donald Trump wasted no time taking a poke at his French host Friday as he arrived in Paris for events marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, tweeting as he landed that President Emmanuel Macron had made an “insulting” proposal to build up Europe’s military to counter the U.S., China and Russia.
Image: Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron
It was a clear sign that the “America first” president was ready to chart his own course yet again as world leaders gathered to remember the coalition that brought an end to the first global war. Trump’s visit comes on the heels of midterm elections in which Americans delivered a split referendum on his presidency, keeping the Senate in his party’s control but ceding the House to opposition Democrats.
He planned to meet with Macron on Saturday for talks on topics expected to include European security, Syria and Iran.
As he arrived, Trump tweeted that Macron “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!”
Trump’s brief visit to Europe comes amid uncertainty about the U.S. relationship with the continent. Trump has railed against trade deals with the European Union and has criticized some EU nations, including France, for not spending enough to defend or sustain NATO, the decades-old Western alliance formed as a bulwark to Moscow’s aggression.
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said Friday in Paris that the U.S. was concerned about stability in Europe and that Trump was not shirking from global engagement.
“I think the enduring lesson (of World War I) for the United States is that when you become a global power … you have global interests to protect,” Bolton said.
“Great world leaders,” he continued, “are driven by national interests.”