US President Trump heads to Paris

Marsha Scott
November 11, 2018

Discussing the growing dangers from cyber-hacking, meddling in electoral processes and the U.S. decision to withdraw from a missile treaty, Macron said Europe needed to protect itself against China, Russia "and even the United States".

France's Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on Saturday on the need for Europe to bear more of the burden for defense, papering over an earlier Trump tweet that described Macron's call for a European army as "very insulting".

"We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army", Macron said, adding that the "main victim" of the USA exit would be Europe and its security.

Macron called Tuesday for a "real European army" to better defend itself "against Russian Federation and even the United States", Agence France Presse reported.

Trump is now in France, commemorating 100 years since the end of World War I. He and the First Lady were scheduled to visit the Aisne-Marne American cemetery in Belleau and participate in a wreath-laying ceremony.

Trump is scheduled to go to two American cemeteries over the course of the weekend, which will culminate with a solemn ceremony Sunday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe.

Across the line that once marked the Western Front, leaders lauded the courage of soldiers who were killed during the unprecedented slaughter, before converging on Paris for a dinner.

"I think it will be something very, very special", he said.

Trump said that Macron "understands that the United States can only do so much".

Macron and his aides scrambled Saturday to clarify what the president views as the threats Europe faces today.

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The American flag flies at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery dedicated to the USA soldiers killed in the Belleau Wood battle during World War One at Belleau, France, November 10, 2018. "Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?"

Ben Rhodes, who was deputy national security adviser for President Obama, accused Mr. Trump in a tweet of "blowing off honoring American servicemen who died for us" and said the White House should have had a fallback option.

"What I find ironic is that Macron is basically just listening to what Trump is telling Europeans", Benjamin Haddad, a fellow at Hudson Institute who worked with Macron's campaign, told NPR.

"It should be a very handsome period of time, the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I".

Like Trump, Macron is also suffering approval ratings problems at home.

French officials said Macron's mooted European Union "army" was merely a call for closer defence integration.

Later in the day, on meeting Macron, he assured that the USA would "help" with European defense but repeated his insistence that nations on the continent pay their fair share.

He added, "When President Trump wants to defend one of the states of the United States, he doesn't ask France or Germany or other government of Europe to finance it".

U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron have had an unusual relationship since their first white-knuckle handshake at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting a year ago, as newly elected Macron appeared to be trying to match the American president on the world stage.

The two men struck a more friendly tone as they opened their meeting at the grand presidential residence.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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