WASHINGTON: Donald Trump on Tuesday launched another attack against Emmanuel Macron over the French president’s call for a European army, a proposal the US leader earlier had dubbed “insulting.”
“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the US, China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France?” Trump tweeted.
“They were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along,” Trump said. “Pay for NATO or not!”
The Republican president has repeatedly lambasted European allies for not spending enough on their militaries, particularly Germany.
Macron had angered Trump by saying Europe needed its own army and listing the US along with Russia and China as a threat to European security.
One of dozens of world leaders attending World War I commemorations in France this weekend, Trump tweeted after landing in Paris that Macron’s call for a “real European army” was “insulting.”
In an interview recorded on Saturday with CNN after talks with Trump, Macron said the two leaders had spoken about what his office has portrayed as a misunderstanding.
Both leaders agree there should be “better burden-sharing within NATO,” meaning Europe should be less reliant on US spending for its defence, Macron said.
But Macron told CNN: “To be very direct with you, what I don’t want to see is European countries increasing the budget in defence in order to buy American and other arms or materials coming from your industry.”
US officials have stressed that Washington is fully committed to the NATO alliance despite Trump’s comments.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg meanwhile has welcomed stronger EU efforts on defense that could strengthen the alliance — but warned against duplicating its work while potentially undermining transatlantic ties.