French President Emmanuel Macron once again left lasting impressions on Saturday with his overseas counterpart, US President Donald Trump. The political discussions revealed tensions, but Trump and Macron were finally trying to conciliatory sounds. Interpersonal but showed again a fight of the two for the upper hand.
Online since yesterday, 9:19 pm
Trump had launched his visit on Saturday with a gripping tweet that sharply criticized Macron’s idea of a European army. The proposal was „very offensive,“ said Trump. „France’s President Macron has just proposed that Europe build its own military to protect itself from the US, China and Russia,“ Trump said shortly after landing in Paris. Macron had previously said in a radio interview that Europe could not defend itself without a „true European army“. He referred to threats from China and Russia, but also from the USA.
The Elysee Palace admitted on Saturday that Macron’s comments may have caused confusion. But he never said that a European army against the USA was necessary. Macron had also referred to cyber threats in the interview.
Dispute over NATO funds
At the meeting with Trump, Macron then pledged to work for higher defense spending by European NATO countries. He will speak with Trump about his proposal for a European army and a Europe „that can carry a greater share of the common burdens in NATO,“ said Macron. Trump was also conciliatory: „We want a strong Europe,“ Trump added. Macron and he are „very good friends“.
Trump and Macron: A relationship with fluctuations
When Trump visited the Elysee, many observers also focused heavily on the personal relationship between the two presidents. On Saturday, it was once again time to assess what the international press called the „Handshake Battle“ – a real fight for the upper hand in compulsory handshakes. This time it was Macron who held Trump’s hand, throwing facts under pressure, holding it tightly. The ritual continues since the two met for the first time in official form.
Thumbprint remained behind
At the G-7 summit in Canada last June, Macron squeezed Trump’s hand to leave behind a white thumbprint. And already at the first meeting of the two presidents in May 2017 in Brussels, the spectacular handshakes were the topic. The Washington Post wrote, „The two men shook hands for six long seconds. Their knuckles turned white, their jaws tightened and their faces tensed. Trump grabbed first, then tried twice to let go. “
Closeup of the fingerprints on the hands of US President Donald Trump after a handshake with the French President Emmanuel Macron
When Macron Trump arrived in Paris in July 2017, the men shook hands for almost 30 seconds. The US channel CNN examined the handshake in a second analysis and saw Macron, Trump at an advantage. Macron even held Trump’s hand tightly, as he greeted Brigitte Macron with kisses and shook her hand-her left hand, of necessity.
Trump also has a history with other heads of state when it comes to shaking hands. Often, the US president tries to grab his handshake partners abruptly. Again and again involuntary funny scenes happen when shaking hands with colleagues and friends. In February 2017, pictures of Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went around the world. Trump shook and patted his guest’s hand for nearly 20 seconds – Abe then twisted his eyes significantly.
Shinzo Abe, relieved after the handshake
The „handshake battle“ with Macron is also seen as a sign of the cooling relationship: disagreement prevails in countless ways, from the climate catastrophe on world trade to dealing with the trouble spots in the Middle East. Finally, there were still the discord around a European army.
Trump’s short visit to Europe should actually serve to strengthen the transatlantic link. The occasion is the commemoration of the end of the First World War one hundred years ago. Macron invited about 70 heads of state and government, in addition to Trump and the Russian