Europe

Trump's attack on Macron lacked 'common decency', France says

US President Donald Trump (R) is welcomed by French president Emmanuel Macron prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, 10 November 2018 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Macron and Mr Trump had appeared to smooth over their differences at the weekend

US President Donald Trump's tweets mocking his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron were inappropriate and showed a lack of "common decency", France says.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump attacked Mr Macron over nationalism, plans for a European army and the French leader's ratings.

"We were marking the murder of 130 of our people," French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said, referring to the 2015 Paris attacks.

It follows Mr Trump's awkward Armistice Day visit to Paris over the weekend.

Mr Griveaux said 13 November was a date for France to mark the tragic incidents of three years ago in Paris and Saint-Denis, when co-ordinated suicide bombings and mass shootings killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more.

"So I will reply in English: 'common decency' would have been the appropriate thing," he told reporters on Wednesday.

In a series of earlier tweets, Mr Trump launched an attack on Mr Macron over his "very low approval rating" and issued a gibe at France's defeat and occupation by Nazi Germany in World War Two.

Mr Trump also attacked his counterpart over nationalism and took exception to Mr Macron's vision for a "true European army", which the French president said was necessary to enable Europe "to defend itself better alone".

Speaking to reporters during a visit to a French warship after Mr Trump's comments, Mr Macron said what matters is "what we do with the US army".

"We are going to carry out very concrete operations with the Americans," he said, citing the "perfect co-ordination and excellent execution" of a joint operation with the US and UK in Syria last April.

Later, during a television interview, the French president added that the country could not wholly rely on the US for its security.

"The United States is our historic ally, it will continue to be," Mr Macron said. "But to be allied is not to be a vassal."

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption President Trump recently met with President Macron on a visit to France

The pair's comments come after a meeting in Paris on Saturday in which the two appeared to smooth over their differences and agreed that Europe needed to pay more towards its defence costs.

Mr Trump was in France as part of Armistice Day commemorations marking 100 years since the end of World War One.

During his visit, the US president was widely criticised for failing to visit the Aisne-Marne American cemetery, which the White House later said was down to visibility being too poor for his helicopter and Mr Trump not wanting to disrupt the Paris traffic with his motorcade.

The French army appeared to poke fun at Mr Trump over the decision, tweeting an image of an officer crawling under barbed wire in wet weather with the words: "There's rain, but it's no problem."

The French army later claimed the tweet was only meant to be about training.

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