- French President Emmanuel Macron called on the US to reject “isolationism” and “extreme nationalism” in an address the US Congress on Wednesday.
- The French president urged the US against “closing the door to the world,” saying that would “not stop the evolution of the world.”
- Though Trump and Macron have flaunted their bromance in recent days, many of Macron’s comments could be interpreted as subtle shots at President Donald Trump’s worldview.
French President Emmanuel Macron called on the US to reject “isolationism” and “extreme nationalism” as he delivered an address to the US Congress on Wednesday.
The French leader’s apparent bromance with President Donald Trump did not prevent him from subtly attacking Trump’s political philosophy.
“We are living in a time of anger and fear,” Macron said, adding that “anger only freezes and weakens us.”
Drawing upon former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s immortal words, Macron said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
‘We are living in a time of anger and fear’
The French president urged the US against “closing the door to the world,” saying that would “not stop the evolution of the world.”
These words could be interpreted as a rebuke of Trump’s “America First” agenda, including his desire to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
French President Emmanuel Macron to Congress: "We can choose isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism…it can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears. But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world." pic.twitter.com/YPnyMThMkY
— Axios (@axios) April 25, 2018
Macron said the present marked a “critical moment” for the world but expressed optimism about the international community’s ability to confront the challenges ahead.
“I am convinced that if we decide to open our eyes wider, we will be stronger,” he said. “We will overcome the dangers. We will not let the rampaging work of extreme nationalism shake a world full of hope for greater prosperity.”
‘We will not let the rampaging work of extreme nationalism shake a world full of hope’
“I do not share the fascination for new strong powers, the abandonment of freedom, and the illusion of nationalism,” Macron said. “Therefore, distinguished members of the Congress, let us push them aside, write our own history, and birth a future we want.”
Defending the global institutions Trump has consistently attacked, Macron called for the US to join France in revitalizing the foundations they built together across the 20th century.
“We can build the 21st-century world order based on a new breed of multilateralism, based on a more effective, accountable, and results-oriented multilateralism,” Macron said.
He added: “This requires more than ever the United States’ involvement, as your role was decisive for creating and safeguarding today’s free world. The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism. You are the one now who has to help to preserve and reinvent it.”
Macron contradicted Trump’s positions on several issues, including on climate change.
“We are killing our planet,” Macron said. “Let us face it: There is no Planet B.”
Trump has referred to climate change as a “hoax” and included in his Cabinet people who reject the scientific community’s consensus that it’s a product of human activities. He also withdrew the US from the landmark Paris climate accord.
On this subject, Macron said, “I am sure one day the United States will come back and join the Paris agreement.”
French President Macron to Congress: "We are killing our planet. Let us face it: There is no Planet B.” pic.twitter.com/jxDSoGobmz
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 25, 2018
France’s president also implored the US not to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement orchestrated by the Obama administration that Trump has frequently referred to as “terrible.”
Macron acknowledged that there were valid concerns about the deal but said France would stick by it regardless of whether Trump decides to stay in it or withdraw.
“It is true to say that this agreement may not address all concerns and very important concerns – this is true – but we should not abandon it without having something substantial and more substantial instead,” Macron said. “That’s my position.”
‘What we cherish is at stake. What we love is in danger.’
In the days leading up to his speech on Wednesday, Macron and Trump exhibited a decidedly amicable relationship. The two world leaders were frequently captured smiling together and even held hands at times.
Still, though some commentators’ have described him as the “Trump whisperer,” Macron did not hold back from assaulting Trumpism in his speech.
As he wrapped up his address, Macron sounded positive about the future of US-France relations despite his disagreements with Trump on an array of issues.
“Our people cherish the friendship of the American people with as much intensity as ever,” Macron said.
He added: “Today, the call we hear is the call of history. This is a time of determination and courage. What we cherish is at stake. What we love is in danger. We have no choice but to prevail – and together, we shall prevail.”
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