French President Macron on 'terrible' call with Trump: Don't worry how the sausage is made

  • French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump are said to have held a “terrible” phone call on Thursday.
  • Macron was asked about the call during a press conference this week.
  • Macron deflected the question by using a comparison widely attributed to the Prussian leader Otto von Bismarck.
  • “As Bismarck used to say, if we explained to people how sausages were made, it’ s unlikely they’d keep eating them,” Macron said.

French President Emmanuel Macron employed a bit of culinary humour to deflect questions about a tense call he was said to have had with US President Donald Trump on Thursday.

A CNN report on Monday said White House staffers had described Macron’s call with Trump as “terrible,” with the conversation apparently turning to the recent decision by the US president to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on imports from the European Union.

Asked about the call during a Tuesday press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron mentioned the famous, if apocryphal, missive on the lawmaking process attributed to the 19th-century Prussian leader Otto von Bismarck.

“As Bismarck used to say, if we explained to people how sausages were made, it’s unlikely they’d keep eating them,” the French president said. “So I like it when people see the finished meal, but I’m not convinced the kitchen commentary helps with delivering the meal or eating it.”

Macron and other European Union leaders are trying to pressure Trump over the recent tariffs in an attempt to avoid an all-out trade war.

The White House readout of Thursday’s call was vague, saying only that Trump commented on “the need to rebalance trade with Europe.” By contrast, the French report said Macron insisted the new tariffs were “illegal.”

The call drew attention after Monday’s CNN report, in which White House sources were described saying Macron’s tough words for Trump did not go over well.

“Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship,” one source told CNN. “But Trump can’t handle being criticised like that.”

The meat-based deflection from Macron underscores a shifting dynamic in a usually tight relationship. Macron was the first foreign leader to make an official state visit to the White House, and the pair’s intense handshakes have become famous.

But recent policy decisions by Trump, especially the tariffs, have threatened the once cheery pairing.

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