Trump mocks Emmanuel Macron as rioters set Paris ablaze in a second week of anti-government protests

A composite image showing Donald Trump, and a fire started by French ‘Yellow Vests’ protesters in front of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, on Saturday December 8. Getty Images/Business Insider
  • Donald Trump quipped on Saturday that “The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris.”
  • He was referring to violent protests in France which saw fires in the capital, and police using tear gas and water cannons.
  • The message was part of a deepening feud between the US president and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
  • Trump has claimed that the protesters are on his side, and agree with his objections to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

President Donald Trump continued mocking his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, as Paris was swept by violence and rioting for a second weekend.

Trump observed in a tweet on Saturday that “The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris,” referring to the angry protests rocking the French capital, which were originally sparked by fuel taxes linked to France’s climate change policy.

Paris Yellow Vests December 8
Protesters surrounded by tear gas during the December 8 protest in Paris. Getty Images

According to the Associated Press, groups of demonstrators from the Yellow Vest protest movement set fires and launched flares at police on the streets of Paris.

Officers responded with crowd control measures, including barricades, water cannon, and tear gas. Much of Paris was locked down in advance, in anticipation of more violence.

Trump’s message was a continuation of his feud with Macron, which Trump has tied to their policy disagreement on the Paris climate change pact.

France spearheaded the international agreement, and the US was due to join as well before Trump decided to pull the plug on American involvement.

The pact is obliquely related to the Yellow Vest movement’s campaign against Macron’s government.

It was born of objections to a steep new tax on diesel, designed to make the French economy more green, in line with the Paris Agreement’s aims. The protests have since widened to a broader anti-government agenda, but have the fuel policies at their core.

During the week, Macron abandoned the tax rise in a bid to appease the protesters.

Around the time Macron was making the U-turn, Trump tweeted “I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protestors in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago. The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed…”

Read more: 70 yellow vest protesters detained after rallies spread to Belgium and the Netherlands

He renewed this line of attack on Saturday, writing: “The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment.”

He also said that the Paris protesters were chanting “We want Trump!”, a claim for which Business Insider has seen no evidence.

Trump and Macron once enjoyed a relatively warm rapport, particularly when Macron hosted Trump in Paris for a grand state visit in 2017, a favour which Trump returned in early 2018.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to Donald Trump in Paris. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)

But the relationship hit a low point in recent weeks.

Macron delivered a public (albeit veiled) rebuke to Trump on home soil, at a speech in Paris marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, taking aim at Trump’s “America First” policy.

Macron said: “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values.”

In the following days, Trump lobbed a series of insults at Macron, mocking France’s military, its wine, and Macron’s personal approval ratings, all of which foreshadowed his apparent pleasure at the violence engulfing Paris.