Let’s recap: Donald Trump came to France last weekend to take part in World War I commemorations, along with Emmanuel Macron (who didn’t even have to travel, so unfair), Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin… All in all, 70 world leaders were present, from both — historical — sides, as Trump might have put it.
Putin managed to arrive late to the main event on Sunday, where Macron made a speech at the Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, where French Presidents traditionally lay flowers on the tomb of an unknown World War I soldier. But that wasn’t quite the most striking thing that happened that weekend: Trump also arrived late. And then some.
The day before, he was slated to visit an American World War I cemetery 55 miles away from Paris. Not exactly a long distance drive, but Trump instead chose to stay indoors… officially due to rain. As if rain ever stopped anybody from going to a cemetery. He may quite possibly have feared for the fate of his always tremendous head of hair, although we might never know for sure…
Then, on Sunday, during the event at the Arc de Triomphe, Macron had the insolence of condemning nationalism as a source of conflict, war and death, as evidenced by the reason all these gentlemen — and a few women — were standing there, World War I, as well as its sequel and… you know the rest. For some reason, Trump assumed that the speech was specifically targeted at him, maybe because he’s been subtly trying to veer US geopolitics and diplomacy in that direction. And by ‘subtly’, I mean by blatantly stating grossly simplistic if not outright wrong claims to that effect: America first, build a wall, trade wars… never more than three words, or else people may get confused.
This resulted in your typical stately reaction: a Twitter tirade against Macron and his approval rating (not quite dissimilar from Trump’s), France and its rate of unemployment (a long term issue, but let’s not get into it here), French wine (huh?) and the prospect of a European army. His point on the European army idea? We should beware of Germans, since they were after all our enemies in both world wars. The same way African Americans should beware of White Americans, since they were after all slave owners back in the day.
The best part of Trump’s online diarrhea comes with his final tweet, though: “Make France great again”. By doing nothing like him, perhaps?