French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Donald Trump to “clarify his position” on the European Union, which the US president has more than once derided.
"What is certain is that we have some ambiguities, especially when you look at Trump's position regarding Brexit,” Macron told the New Yorker magazine in an interview published Monday, specially picking up on the fact that Trump is a proponent of a hard Brexit.
The interview was held a month after the European elections, in which Macron’s centrist party, Republic on the Move was beaten by Marine Le Pen’s right-wing National Rally, only coming in second.
"What is new on the European scale is that the rise of extremism, especially coming from the far right, is everywhere," Macron said when asked about the elections’ outcome, before articulating:
“A few months ago, a lot of people thought that this new coalition of the far right could have a majority or could block any majority within the European Parliament, which didn't happen," he said, referring to the result as “one of the positive ones”. “Even if they were very much helped by foreign influences,” Macron continued.
When asked if he considered Trump to be one of these, Macron shook his head, stressing that this is because he doesn’t “totally assimilate Trump and Bannon”.
Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist and co-founder of Breitbart News, has been actively promoting a right-wing alliance in Europe; he offered advisory support to a constellation of European populist groups on the eve of May's European elections. The attempt prompted Macron to lash out at Bannon over his attempts “to dismantle Europe”, as the French president put it.
Meanwhile, Trump made his take on the EU clear and distinct in an interview with NBC which aired over the weekend: when commenting on Europeans’ efforts to uphold the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran that Trump ditched in May 2018, the POTUS stressed he “doesn’t care about the Europeans”. He argued they are “fine and making a lot of money” at the expense of the US, as it is America that “takes care of them”.
“NATO, we spend a tremendous amount, a disproportionate amount. On trade, the European Union's taken, really, they have really taken advantage of us for a long time," he explained.