Trump trolls French President Emmanuel Macron, offers to give him 'some nice IS fighters' at the NATO summit
Macron was clearly not amused by the US president's joke and asked him to be serious before addressing the issue.
President Donald Trump shares a relationship with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that often blows hot and cold. While Trump honored Macron as his administration’s first state visitor in 2018, it was also in the same year that Macron had said that calls with the American president are like sausages, implying that it is better not to know their content. The two presidents have also had differences over international affairs while they have also come together at other times.
On Tuesday, December 3, Trump and Macron were together at the 2019 Nato summit in London and there, the duo got involved in an absorbing exchange over the Islamic State (IS) prisoners. The maverick American president was then heard accusing his counterpart of giving “one of the greatest non-answers” he has ever got.
What was the issue to have triggered the latest exchange between the two leaders?
It was Trump who had suggested during a bilateral meeting with Macron at the summit that France should be taking in more IS fighters after they are captured in the Middle East. The issue has remained a reason for tension for both the allies. Trump, who has followed a less-engaging path in foreign affairs, is of the opinion that the IS extremists should be returned to their home countries and they should try them instead of the US.
“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you,” Trump told Macron, adding that France could take everyone it wanted. To that, Macron said: “It is true you have foreign fighters coming from Europe, but this is a tiny minority of the overall problem.”
'Let's be serious!'
However, before answering in detail, the French president, 32 years junior to Trump, made it clear that he was not amused by the latter’s joke. “Let’s be serious,” he said. Macron also nullified Trump’s position that the IS has been defeated after the elimination of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October. He said it is France’s main priority to defeat the IS.
Trump then shot back, saying: “This is why he is a great politician because that was one of the greatest non-answers I have ever heard, and that’s OK.”
The US recently decided to pull out its troops from northern Syria, leaving its regional allies -- the Kurds -- exposed to Turkey that launched a military offensive. Several IS fighters who the Kurds had helped the US to capture were released in the chaos that ensued.