Trump calls French president 'good friend' after testy tweet

He refrained from commenting on Trump's "insult" tweet, beyond saying, "I always prefer having direct discussions or answering questions than making my diplomacy through tweets".

The earlier show of unity at the Arc de Triomphe comes at a time of growing tensions between liberals and populists in the European Union, as well as between Europe and the U.S., two years into Trump's "America First" presidency.

"Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the USA subsidises greatly!".

The commemoration is the centrepiece of global tributes to honour those who perished during the 1914-18 war and to commemorate the signing of the Armistice that brought the fighting to an end at 11 a.m. on Nov 11, 1918.

President Trump added that he and President Macron are "getting along from the standpoint of fairness".

Trump's talks with Macron at the Elysee are likely to cover European concerns about Trump's plans to withdraw the United States from the 1980s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement and U.S. renewal of sanctions against Iran.

'We have much in common in many ways - perhaps more ways than people would understand, ' he assessed.

"We know where we disagree and we are very straightforward on that - on climate, on trade, on multiculturalism - but we work very well together because we have very regular and director discussions", Macron went on.

Trump took umbrage at a recent interview in which Macron talked about the need for a European army and listed the USA along with Russian Federation and China as potential threats to national security.

The Kremlin said earlier that the prospect of a full meeting between the United States and Russian presidents had prompted huge global media interest, leading to concern from the French organisers this could overshadow the commemorations. The cost of securing Europe is a reliable bête noire for Trump, one he's railed against on the campaign trail and in meetings with his counterparts. We want to help.

He explained that the USA would like to assist Europe with its security obligations, so long as the costs are reasonably distributed, and that's why he's pushed so aggressively for America's allies to increase their contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Trump did not appear overly eager on Saturday to dispel the notion he is uninterested in bettering US-Europe ties.

Macron´s office on Saturday acknowledged that his remarks "could create confusion" but stressed: "He never said we need a European army against the United States".

"We had a regular discussion this morning and he confirmed in front of the press that he was ok", Macron told CNN.

Trump will be the most notable absentee at the forum, where Macron's defense of multilateralism will take center stage.

Others attacked Trump, expressing dissatisfaction with his nationalist policies and the direction, in which he leads America.

Kelly Magsamen, who served on the National Security Council under both Republican and a Democratic presidents, said it displayed "real low energy", for Trump "to not bother to honor the sacrifice of American soldiers in WWI due to some rain. Nationalism is its betrayal", Macron said.

"By saying our interests come first and others don't matter we are erasing what makes a nation precious, what makes it live, what makes it great and most importantly of all, its moral values".

"I don't think we have anything scheduled in Paris and I'm coming back very quickly", the president said.

Rispal also said Trudeau's appearance at the Arc de Triomphe ceremony would be a reminder of Canada's contributions during the war, which aren't always recognized in Europe.

  • Rogelio Becker