Sun, Nov 11, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Trump opens armistice visit with jab at Macron

AP, PARIS

US President Donald Trump is shifting his post-election focus with a weekend trip to Paris, joining an international commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.

He wasted no time mixing it up with his host, tweeting as he arrived in France that French President Emmanuel Macron had made an “insulting” proposal to build up Europe’s military to counter the US, China and Russia.

Trump arrived in France late on Friday, days after Americans delivered a split referendum on his presidency in the midterm congressional election, keeping the US Senate in his party’s control, but ceding the US House of Representatives to opposition Democrats.

He planned to meet with Macron yesterday for talks on topics expected to include European security, Syria and Iran.

As he arrived, Trump tweeted that Macron “has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!”

For today’s anniversary, Trump is to join world leaders at a ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe.

“It should be a very beautiful period of time, the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I. We have many countries — the leadership from many countries will be there, especially since they heard the United States will be there. And we look forward to that,” Trump told reporters on Friday before leaving the White House. “I’ve seen what they have planned and I think it’s going to be something very, very special.”

The US president and first lady Melania Trump were expected to visit several memorial sites in France that are dedicated to US service members.

Not on Trump’s schedule, despite earlier discussions about the possibility, was an extended meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t know that we’re seeing each other in Paris, but we may,” Trump said. “There may be a lunch for the leaders.”

The White House and the Kremlin had previously considered a formal meeting in Paris. That seems more likely for later this month, when they attend the G20 summit of international leaders in Argentina.

Trump’s brief visit to Europe comes amid uncertainty about the US relationship with the continent.

Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton on Friday in Paris said that the US was concerned about stability in Europe and that Trump was not shirking from global engagement.

“I think the enduring lesson [of World War I] for the United States is that when you become a global power ... you have global interests to protect,” Bolton said.

“Great world leaders” are “driven by national interests,” he said.

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