WASHINGTON - Donald Trump piled pressure on Emmanuel Macron Sunday, pushing for resolutions to disputes on trade and defense spending, as he weighed in on the mass protests over his French counterpart’s government.
Writing on Twitter, Trump showed he had been keeping an eye on Saturday’s demonstrations across France and refrained from showing sympathy for the beleaguered Macron, whose once cozy ties with the U.S. president have chilled.
“The large and violent French protests don’t take into account how badly the United States has been treated on Trade by the European Union or on fair and reasonable payments for our GREAT military protection,” said Trump.
“Both of these topics must be remedied soon.”
Around 130 people were arrested in France on Saturday during the nationwide protests, while 24 people were injured, five of them police officers.
The protesters — dubbed “yellow vests” for the high-visibility jackets that are widely worn at the demonstrations — are drawn mainly from rural areas and have vented their fury at policies they see as being pushed through by a Parisian elite deaf to their concerns.
Some of their arguments carry echoes of Trump’s rallying call to “Make America Great Again” and his denunciation of “The Swamp” in Washington, including the anger that they voice at globalization.
Trump’s once-close relations with Macron have been strained in recent weeks, with the U.S. president criticizing his French counterpart on everything from his touting of a European army to his continued backing for a nuclear deal with Iran that the U.S. has already ditched.
Trump has frequently criticized other NATO countries, including France, over their levels of defense spending and says the European Union has treated the U.S. “very unfairly” on a range of trade issues.