When President Donald Trump went thrashing about on the internet this week, French President Emmanuel Macron seemed cool and collected when responding to the president’s personal attacks.
On Tuesday, Trump decided to personally insult the president of America’s oldest ally, tweeting, “The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low approval rating in France.”
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
In an interview the next day, Macron was asked about the attacks and responded simply saying, “I do not do policy or diplomacy by tweets.” It was a sly, but backhanded insult at Trump who has been criticized by members of his own party for his tendency to let loose on Twitter.
Macron also suggested that Trump’s tweets were meant for a stateside audience, saying that Trump is “doing American politics.”
During a speech last week, Macron declared that “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is its betrayal.” Only a few days before those remarks, Trump told a crowd at a rally, “I’m a nationalist.”
There are plenty of parallels in the French and American political systems over the past few years. In France, Macron defeated far-right nationalist Marine le Pen, who represented the National Front — a party with ugly beginnings that included anti-semitism. The French and Americans have both found themselves fearful of Islamic extremism after attacks or attempted attacks.
But still, Macron and Trump have enjoyed a mostly warm relationship. When Macron brought Trump to France for Bastille Day, the president thoroughly enjoyed himself and the chance to play general and salute troops during a parade. In fact, he liked the parade so much that he tried to have one of his own in the United States.
Yet Trump’s constant attacks on the NATO alliance seem to have weakened the friendship between the two leaders and last week’s barbs that the pair traded appear to signal the end of the formerly warm relationship.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.