UPDATED 9:46 AM PT — Tuesday, December 3, 2019
President Trump blasted his French counterpart’s recent comments on NATO as “very insulting to a lot of different forces.” During a meeting with the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Tuesday, he said Emmanuel Macron was “very disrespectful” in regards to the French leader saying the organization was experiencing “brain death.”
The president went on to say France is not doing well economically, and called Macron’s remarks a very tough statement to make when there is such difficulty in his country. He also said Macron is probably more dependent on NATO than any other member nation.
“Nobody needs NATO more than France and, frankly, the one that benefits really the least is the United States, we benefit the least, we are helping Europe,” said President Trump. “…But I think nobody needs it more than France, and that’s why I think that when France makes a statement like they made about NATO, that’s a very dangerous step for them to make.”
Meanwhile, President Macron stood by his comments. However, both leaders did agree the U.S. had over-invested into NATO and were not paid back appropriately.
“I know that my statements created some reactions, I stand by them,” said Macron. “When you look at what NATO is and should be, first of all this is a burden we share, and President Trump just reminded you some figures and it is perfectly true that the U.S. over invested decade after decade and it is number one by far.”
President Trump has been fighting for increased burden sharing by NATO members, and it’s working. Over $130 billion in new defense spending by member countries! pic.twitter.com/JXspMyufPs
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 3, 2019
Despite the mutual agreements, the presidents disagreed on the current situation regarding fight against ISIS. The French president commented the fight was far from over, and discussed the need for a universal definition of terrorism. President Trump remarked the U.S. had made considerable strides against terrorist forces, and even went as far as offering Macron a selection of ISIS prisoners in U.S. custody.