French President Emmanuel Macron arrives to address a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A day after flaunting his friendship with Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron challenged many of the US president’s policies on Wednesday.
During his visit to the US, Macron and Trump repeatedly shook and grabbed hands, exchanged kisses on the cheek, and slapped each other’s backs while praising their friendship.
But on the last day of his visit, Macron repeatedly criticized the president’s isolationist principles in a speech to a joint meeting of Congress, an honor given to a small number of visiting foreign leaders.
“This requires more than ever the United States’ involvement as your role was decisive for creating and guarding today’s free world. The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism. You are the one now who has to help preserve and reinvent it,” Macron said.
The French leader even encouraged students at George Washington University to step up the fight against one of the issues previously hurled at Trump.
“You will have to fix the climate change, air pollution, the biodiversity in the ocean. My generation will do its best, in order for your generation to have the choice to choose. But it will be the duty of your generation to do the job,” said the French leader.
Macron is in the US to try to persuade Trump to stay in the 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and six major powers.
Capping his three-day visit, the French president calls on the US to not leave the deal until a broader international accord is reached that addresses all remaining concerns about Iran.
Trump has often vowed to pull Washington out of the agreement. He will decide by May 12 whether to restore u-s economic sanctions on Tehran, which could be a first step to ending the deal.
But a US envoy clarifies on Wednesday, Washington is not seeking to reopen the nuclear deal but hopes to stay in it to fix its flaws with a supplementary agreement. — Reuters