Over the past few days, French President Emmanuel Macron has stood beside Donald Trump in several formal and informal environments, ostensibly strengthening our relationship with our oldest ally. Trump, impressed, told journalists yesterday that, under Macron, France “will be taken to new heights.”
However, when Macron addressed a joint session in Congress today, he reminded everyone that his budding friendship with the White House does not not indicate his endorsement of the dream pushed by the American President and the GOP.
The French President made it clear that he particularly disagrees with two of Donald Trump’s major decisions — the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear deal.
Macron advised against the United States withdrawing from the Obama administration’s Iran deal with France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.
Macron was blunt, particularly with regards to the climate crisis, warning American legislators, “Let us face it, there is no Planet B.”
The French president also focused on broader issues, which the Republican-dominated Congress could not have cared for, urging Americans not to succumb to “fear and anger,” which “freezes and weakens us” in the end.
He added, “[W]e have two possible ways ahead. We can choose isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism. This is an option,. It can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears. But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world.”
Macron condemned the “ever-growing virus of fake news” which “exposes our people to irrational fear and imaginary risks.” Except he was referring to real propaganda and made-up BS, not Trump’s description of “fake news,” which describes news he doesn’t like.
The French President suggested some cures for society’s sicknesses: “I believe that against ignorance, we have education. Against inequalities, development. Against cynicism, trust and good faith. Against fanaticism, culture. Against disease, medicine. Against the threats on the planet, science.”
Similar to the State of the Union address, the response to Macron’s comments was divided. For example, Democrats cheered and Republicans sneered while he praised the contributions of science.
These attitudes reminded our foreign friend that while specific values seem to saturate Western societies, the modern GOP is an international outlier in several respects.
Emmanuel Macron might not have reprimanded Donald Trump, but he clearly rejected Trump’s most foolish impulses and the Republicans’ most regressive urges.