Macron says he could work with Trump: ‘I take the leaders people give me’

French president previously suggested US interest in protecting global order receded under Trump

Maroosha Muzaffar
Wednesday 17 January 2024 06:57 GMT
Trump takes win at Iowa caucuses

Emmanuel Macron said he was willing to work with Donald Trump if the former president ended up winning the US elections.

This comes just a day after Mr Trump scored a record-setting win in the Iowa caucuses.

“I’ve always had the same philosophy, I take the leaders that people give me,” The French president said on Thursday during a news conference.

He added: “The United States is an important ally... It’s a democracy that’s going through a crisis in which it itself is the first priority and the second priority is China’s power. All of us Europeans need to be lucid about that.”

The French president previously suggested that the US interest in protecting the global order receded under the tenure of Mr Trump. In 2019, Mr Macron described Nato as “brain” dead, citing waning US support for the transatlantic military alliance.

The former president called these comments by Mr Macron “nasty” and “insulting”.

Mr Trump has previously described Europe as a “foe” which is “almost as bad as China” and hinted that he might pull out of the alliance if its terms were not altered to suit the United States.

Mr Macron initially considered Mr Trump a “friend” and even extended invitations like dining at the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day but his relationship with the former president soured over time due to disagreements on climate, taxation, and Iran.

Tensions further rose over issues with Turkey, Syria, and Russia, while trade disputes, including France’s new tech tax, added to the discord.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump, the sole current or former US president facing criminal charges, secured a victory in the Iowa Republican contest by an unprecedented margin.

Justin Trudeau has said that if Mr Trump is re-elected as US president, it will not “be easy” for Canada.

The Canadian prime minister’s remarks on Tuesday echo concerns by the president of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde, who previously warned that the re-election of the former president would be a threat to Europe.

Additional reporting with agencies

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