Trump fires back at European leaders after damp reception in France

President Trump lashed out at European leaders after French President Emmanuel Macron denounced his ‘America First’ brand of nationalism and called for the creation of a European army, independent from the US.

“Just returned from France where much was accomplished in my meetings with World Leaders,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “Never easy bringing up the fact that the US must be treated fairly, which it hasn’t, on both Military and Trade. We pay for LARGE portions of other countries military protection, hundreds of billions of dollars, for the great privilege of losing hundreds of billions of dollars with these same countries on trade.”

@realDonaldTrump Just returned from France where much was accomplished in my meetings with World Leaders. Never easy bringing up the fact that the U.S. must be treated fairly, which it hasn’t, on both Military and Trade. We pay for LARGE portions of other countries military protection,........

@realDonaldTrump .....hundreds of billions of dollars, for the great privilege of losing hundreds of billions of dollars with these same countries on trade. I told them that this situation cannot continue - It is, and always has been, ridiculously unfair to the United States. Massive amounts.....

@realDonaldTrump .....of money spent on protecting other countries, and we get nothing but Trade Deficits and Losses. It is time that these very rich countries either pay the United States for its great military protection, or protect themselves...and Trade must be made FREE and FAIR!

Trump’s tirade came just one day after French President Emmanuel Macron – once regarded as a close confidant of the US president – rebuked Trump’s ‘America First’ brand of nationalism, comparing it to the forces that plunged Europe into conflict in the early 20th Century.

Speaking at an Armistice Day commemoration in Paris, Macron did not address Trump by name, but warned that "Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism...nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values."

At a recent campaign-style rally, Trump described himself as a “nationalist,” the first time he has done so since taking office. On Monday, the president’s beef with Maron and his European counterparts seemed to be driven more by financial concerns than ideological ones.

READ MORE: Umbrella troubles? Twitter mocks Trump as he bails on WWI commemoration over light rain

Trump has often criticized his European allies for failing to meet their defense spending targets, leaving the US to foot much of Europe’s security bill. At present, only five NATO member states – the US, UK, Greece, Estonia, and Poland – allocate two percent of their GDP to defense spending, a requirement for membership. In 2017, the US spent $686 billion on defense, over double the expenditure of all 28 other states combined.

However, European leaders as of late seem more interested in looking elsewhere for their defense needs. In a radio interview last week, Macron called for the establishment of an EU army that can defend the continent “without relying only on the United States.”

@realDonaldTrump 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!

Macron’s view was echoed by liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt, a long-time proponent of a closer-knit, federal Europe. Tweeting on Saturday, Verhofstadt said that Europe cannot be “unprepared for the America First Policy.”

@guyverhofstadt Yes, @ischinger, we need to go to majority voting in the EU & yes @p61pavel we need an integrated defence capacity as a European pillar of NATO. We are stronger together, cannot afford 27 parallel defence budgets nor being unprepared for the America First Policy. https://twitter.com/p61pavel/status/1060976524978016268 

Petr Pavel @p61pavel
Replying to @ischinger

Great idea! Will this European Army be part of or parallel to NATO? And wasn’t NATO designed primarily to defend Europe?

With the commemorations marred by gray skies and constant-drizzle, Trump received the cold shoulder from activists and from the French media too. Ahead of his arrival, French comedian Yann Barthes switched to English on his primetime show, telling Trump to “go and f*** yourself. You’re not welcome in this country.”

As the president’s motorcade rolled down the Champs-Élysées, a topless feminist protester hopped the barricades and ran towards the president’s car with the words “fake peacemaker” scrawled on her chest. Police apprehended the woman, and feminist group FEMEN later released a statement attacking several of the world leaders present at the event, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bare-breasted FEMEN protester almost throws herself at Trump’s m...

“FEMEN believes that restoring world peace with those who are responsible for the ongoing wars is hypocritical,” the statement said.

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European leaders and high-ranking officials expressed their condolences to the families of the passengers of the Airbus A320 plane that had crashed in southern France Tuesday.

There were around 150 people on board the flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.

French President Francois Hollande said that the conditions of the accident suggested that there were no survivors adding that there had likely been many German nationals aboard the plane.

The French president spoke to the German chancellor and the Spanish prime minister by telephone.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "shocked" ober the Germanwings plane crash with about 150 people aboard believed to be dead, the German leader's spokesman said. Merkel "cancelled her appointments to follow developments", spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

Angela Merkel said Germany, France and Spain had agreed to jointly investigate the Airbus A320 crash.

German Foreign Minister Steinmeier expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of the plane crash. German ambassador to France is heading to the crash site.
 

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy confirmed during a Tuesday press conference the creation of a crisis cabinet after a Germanwings passenger jet crashed in France.

The prime minister said he was cutting short his trip to Vitoria, the capital city of Spain's Basque Autonomous Community, and was returning to Madrid to take charge of the crisis cabinet.

"Shocked by the air accident in the Alps. A tragedy. We are cooperating with the French and German authorities in the investigation," Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a Twitter message after French officials said nobody survived in the accident.

Spanish King Felipe VI has reportedly cut short his state visit to France following the Airbus 320 plane crash.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to the Spanish king over the plane crash, a statement by the Kremlin press service read.

"Putin stressed that Russia shares the grief of those who lost their relatives and friends in this tragedy," the statement said.

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