As news spread Monday of the catastrophic fire at Notre Dame cathedral in central Paris, U.S. President Donald Trump offered his thoughts on the matter. Two hours later, French safety officials offered a withering take-down on those thoughts.
After expressing his shock at seeing the fire in a tweet, Trump suggested, “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” France’s civil defense agency, Sécurité Civile, without mentioning Trump, underscored why that would be a terrible idea.
“All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral,” it wrote.
It was a reply that quickly got the Twitter population buzzing and a not-so-subtle way for French authorities to suggest that the massive fire was not an issue where they wanted fire-fighting advice from a politician.
The U.S. and French governments have had a rocky relationship for several months. Last August, president Emmanuel Macron said Europe “can no longer rely” on the U.S. for defense after Trump reportedly threatened to pull the U.S. out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.