French govt spokesman hits back at Trump's lack of 'decency'
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US President Donald Trump should have shown "common decency" instead of attacking his French counterpart on Tuesday, France’s government spokesman has said, noting that the country was marking the anniversary of deadly terrorist attacks.
In a series of five tweets sent as France marked three years since the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Trump blasted the key US ally over its near defeat to Germany in two world wars, its wine industry and President Emmanuel Macron's low approval ratings.
Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
When asked on Wednesday about the US leader's Twitter posts, French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux suggested Trump had been insensitive.
"Yesterday was November 13, we were marking the murder of 130 of our people," Griveaux said. "So I'll reply in English: 'common decency' would have been appropriate."
Trump posted the tweets after returning to Washington from a weekend in Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One where strained relations between the American president and European allies was on full display.
On Tuesday, he rejected Macron's warnings against the threat of nationalism, made during an emotional ceremony in the French capital on Sunday attended by scores of world leaders.
Trump, who has promoted an "America First" policy, pointed to Macron's recent comments about Europe's need to protect itself, tweeting "it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along. Pay for NATO or not!"
“By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people – and rightfully so!” Trump wrote in a series of tweets, ending with “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!”
The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%. He was just trying to get onto another subject. By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!........Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
Asked about Trump’s tweets, a key adviser to Macron told reporters that the French president had briefed Trump and his chief of staff during the Paris trip to reassure them “that France is not about to make a choice between a European defence system and multilateral approaches”.
“The relations between our two countries are deeper than and not limited to tweets,” an Élysée Palace source told FRANCE 24 on Tuesday. “We consider Donald Trump’s tweets to be directed toward Americans.”
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)