Trump calls Macron comments on NATO ‘insulting’ and ‘nasty’
President Trump said Tuesday that French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments about NATO experiencing “brain death” were “very insulting” and “nasty.”
“NATO serves a great purpose,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in London on the sidelines of a meeting of alliance leaders. “I think that’s very insulting.”
Trump said he was “very surprised” by the comments and called them “very disrespectful.”
“It’s a tough statement. When you make a statement like that, that is a very, very nasty statement essentially to 28 countries,” Trump said.
Trump also said that Macron’s statement was “very dangerous.”
“Nobody needs NATO more than France,” he said.
Macron told The Economist in a recent interview that what the world is “currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO” and that the alliance needed to “wake up” and begin thinking of itself as a geopolitical power. Macron also warned of waning support for the alliance on the part of the United States.
Macron’s statements prompted scrutiny from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said she did not share his view and called the statement “drastic.”
Trump is slated to meet one-on-one with Macron later Tuesday in London on the sidelines of the NATO leaders meeting.
The president himself has been openly critical of NATO, arguing that the U.S. contributes a disproportionate amount to fund the group and protects other countries that pay less.
On Monday, he touted an increase in member nations’ defense spending during his administration, apparently taking credit for the increase.
“In the 3 decades before my election, NATO spending declined by two-thirds, and only 3 other NATO members were meeting their financial obligations. Since I took office, the number of NATO allies fulfilling their obligations more than DOUBLED, and NATO spending increased by $130B!” Trump tweeted.
Trump on Tuesday also knocked France’s economy and said Macron’s statement about NATO was a “tough” one to make “when you have such difficulty in France.”
“You have a very high unemployment rate in France. France is not doing well economically at all. They’re starting to tax other people’s products, so therefore we go and tax them, which is taking place right now on technology and we’re doing their wines and everything else,” Trump said.
“You just can’t go around making statements like that about NATO. It’s very disrespectful.”
On Monday, the White House proposed tariffs of up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion in French goods in response to France’s digital services tax, saying an investigation found that the tax discriminated against U.S. companies.
Updated at 7:46 a.m.