PARIS – US President Donald Trump attacked his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Twitter on Friday moments after landing in Paris, where he is taking part in the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.
“President Macron of France 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 wrote.
On Tuesday, Macron mentioned during a radio interview the need for a “strong and sovereign Europe” with a “real European army” to allow the continent to rely less on the United States in its defense against new threats.
The president and First Lady Melania Trump landed at Orly airport at 10:21 pm, where they were received by US Ambassador to France Jamie McCourt and by French officials.
The controversial Tweet comes on the eve of Trump’s visit to the Elysee Palace, where he will meet with Macron for bilateral talks on Saturday.
After his meeting with Macron, Trump is scheduled to visit the Belleau Wood battle ground and the adjacent US military cemetery, followed by a visit to the Picasso exhibition at the Musee d’Orsay, and a dinner event with other heads of state.
On Sunday, Macron and Trump will be among the more than 70 heads of state taking part in a solemn ceremony in Paris marking the centennial of the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice.