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Trump Heightens Tensions With France, Lashing Out About Tariffs and NATO

President Donald Trump targeted France and its president, Emmanuel Macron, in a series of tweets Tuesday, lashing out about nationalism, tariffs, and NATO.

Tensions between Trump and Macron mounted this past weekend, when world leaders gathered in France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Macron denounced nationalism as “a betrayal of patriotism” in a speech Sunday, just weeks after Trump declared himself a nationalist at one of his rallies.

In response, Trump took to Twitter Tuesday, targeting Macron for his approval rating and claiming “there is no country more Nationalist than France.”


The U.S. president also targeted France for its tariffs, saying they make it difficult for U.S. wines to sell there, but French wines are sold in the U.S. with “very small Tariffs.”

“Not fair, must change!” tweeted Trump, whose family business owns a winery in Virginia.

Finally, Trump lashed out about NATO. Trump has long argued that other members of the alliance don’t pull their weight with defense spending, even reportedly threatening to pull out of the alliance at a summit last summer.

Macron has taken those threats seriously, saying in August that Europe “can no longer rely on the United States for its security.” The French president made a similar statement in a radio interview last week, when he said, “We have to protect ourselves, with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” reports CBS News.

While France’s Ambassador to the U.S. clarified that the comment did not mean Europe needs defense against the U.S., Trump took to Twitter to defend the troops, insinuating that France would have lost both world wars if it weren’t for U.S. aid.

Trump’s tweets against France were perhaps poorly timed: Tuesday is the third anniversary of the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people.

Trump already has a poor reputation in France, with 65% of voters viewing him negatively (a decrease of 16 points lower from last year’s survey), according to an Odoxa agency poll for Le Figaro newspaper. Hundreds of activists came out in the rain this weekend to protest Trump’s arrival in France, the Washington Post reports, with the giant balloon of Trump caricatured as a baby making another appearance.