After the first day of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Washington, mainstream media mocked the apparent closeness of Macron and President Trump.
On the second day, realizing Trump might benefit from perceived closeness to Macron, the media switched courses to point out the “limits of their touchy-feely friendship.”
“During French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Washington, his interactions with President Trump may have appeared like the true beginning of an unlikely friendship, or bromance,” the Washington Post’s Rick Noack reported.
“But as my colleague Ishaan Tharoor summarized, after repeatedly hugging Trump, Macron tore down his worldview – delivering a clear rebuke of his core policy stances during a speech in Congress.”
In his address to a joint session of Congress, Macron told lawmakers the U.S. should stay in the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accords, “international agreements that Trump has bitterly denounced as he presses his ‘America first’ policies,” the Los Angeles Times wrote.
The LA Times story reported that Macron received multiple standing ovations, “many from Democrats heartened that he clearly repudiated Trump’s policies even as he cast himself as a staunch political ally.”
The speech “underscored that whatever comity the two leaders have found as newly elected outsiders, their political centers of gravity remain distant.”
Neither source reported that no U.S. president has had a relationship with his counterpart in France remotely as close as this one in living memory.
The Post piece then set about pointing to “seven times Macron sounded a lot like Obama during his speech to Congress.”
The first was Obama’s commitment to trade deals, which Trump successfully has argued did not always benefit Americans. The second was climate change, in which Obama said: “If we don’t act boldly, the bill that could come due will be mass migrations and cities submerged and nations displaced, and food supplies decimated and conflicts born of despair.”
“Some people think that securing current industries – and their jobs – is more urgent than transforming our economies to meet the global challenge of climate change,” Macron said. Hardly the alarmist rhetoric.
Macron did not so much agree with Obama on the Iran deal as to point out France signed it because Obama urged it to. That’s not Trump’s problem.
On ‘nationalism and isolationism,’ words the Post uses to discredit Trump’s America First agenda, it quoted Obama as saying in his farewell address that the “fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism and chauvinism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression.”
“We can choose isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism,” Macron said. “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.”
On inequality, the Post tried to paint Obama and Macron as joined at the hip, but in fact the views Obama expressed were more in line with Trump’s than with Macron’s statements.
“As too often, those trumpeting the benefits of globalization have ignored inequality within and among nations; have ignored the enduring appeal of ethnic and sectarian identities; have left international institutions ill-equipped, underfunded, under-resourced, in order to handle transnational challenges,” Obama said.