- French President Emmanuel Macron fact-checked US President Donald Trump on the subject of ISIS as they met in London on Tuesday during a NATO summit.
- Trump has in the past claimed that the terrorist group is defeated, though the US military is still engaged in operations against it.
- In an apparent jab at Trump, the French president said that the “No. 1 priority, because it’s not yet finished, is to get rid of ISIS and these terrorist groups,” adding, “It’s not yet done. I’m sorry to say that.”
- Macron also challenged Trump’s claim that foreign fighters in ISIS were “mostly from Europe.”
- The French leader said: “Let’s be serious. The very large numbers of fighters you have on the ground are the fighters coming from Syria, from Iraq and the region.”
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French President Emmanuel Macron did not mince words as he discussed ISIS with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday at a NATO summit in London, fact-checking his American counterpart as they met on the global stage.
In an apparent jab at Trump’s repeated false claims that ISIS is defeated, Macron said: “I think No. 1 priority, because it’s not yet finished, is to get rid of ISIS and these terrorist groups. This is our No. 1 priority. And it’s not yet done. I’m sorry to say that.”
In October, Trump said the US has defeated “100% of the ISIS Caliphate.”
“We have captured 100% of the caliphate,” Trump said on Tuesday, though he acknowledged that the group is still active and emphasised that the US is working to prevent ISIS from regrouping.
In tense exchange over ISIS fighters, French Pres. Macron tells Pres. Trump, "The number one priority, because it's not yet finished, is to get rid of ISIS."
— ABC News (@ABC) December 3, 2019
‘Let’s be serious’
Macron also corrected Trump on the subject of foreign ISIS fighters imprisoned in Syria.
“Many are from France, many are from Germany, many are from UK,” Trump said. “They’re mostly from Europe, and some of the countries are agreeing. I have not spoken to the president about that.”
The US president then turned to Macron and added: “Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you. You can take every one you want.”
Macron replied: “Let’s be serious. The very large numbers of fighters you have on the ground are the fighters coming from Syria, from Iraq and the region.”
The French president conceded that foreign fighters from Europe had joined ISIS but added that they represent “a tiny minority of the overall problem we have in the region.”
Earlier Tuesday, Trump went after Macron’s comments on NATO in an interview with The Economist last month. Macron said NATO was experiencing a “brain death” and was critical of Trump’s approach to the historic alliance.
“We find ourselves for the first time with an American president who doesn’t share our idea of the European project, and American policy is diverging from this project,” Macron said.
Trump, who has frequently criticised NATO and its members, said Macron’s comments were “very, very nasty” and “insulting.”
- Read more:
- NATO braces for an awkward summit as Boris Johnson tells Trump to butt out of UK politics, Russia edges closer to Europe, and Macron calls the group brain-dead
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- Boris Johnson is trying to keep his distance from Trump amid fears the US president could blow up his election campaign
- It’s getting harder for NATO to hide that Turkey’s becoming ‘a thorn in everyone’s side’
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