It was an awkward truce to avert a Twitter war, a day before the big Armistice Day commemoration in Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump, meeting at the Élysée Palace on Saturday morning, appeared to smooth over any differences after the visiting American took offense on Friday to comments Macron had made earlier in the week.
Politico reports that tensions eased, however, as Macron welcomed Trump at the Élysée Palace on Saturday for policy meetings. Macron seemed intent on smoothing things over and stressed that he fully supported Trump’s calls for increased military spending by NATO allies.
“We need a much better burden-sharing in NATO,” Macron said, adding, “My proposals on European defense are consistent with that.”
Calling Trump’s visit “a pleasure,” Macron added, “our people are very proud to have you here.”
Trump almost made nice, though he repeated his view that the U.S. alliance with European partners was not fair while adopting a stiff and frosty posture to the French president’s warm body language — including a couple of taps on Trump’s knee.
“I appreciate what you are saying about burden sharing,” Trump told Macron. “You know what my attitude has been and we want a strong Europe; it’s very important to the U.S. to have a strong Europe.”
Later, he added: “We are getting along from the standpoint of fairness; we want it to be fair. We want to help Europe but it has to be fair. Right now the burden-sharing has been largely on the United States, as the president was saying. He understands it, and he understands that the United States can only do so much — in fairness to the United States.”