French president requests respect following Trump’s tweets

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By Associated Press

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron said France and the United States must respect each other, in a response to a flurry of critical tweets by Donald Trump.

Macron said in an interview Wednesday with French television TF1 from the Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier off the coast of southern France that “the French don’t expect from me to answer to tweets.”

Trump lit into Macron Tuesday over his suggestion for a European defence force, French tariffs on U.S. wine and even Macron’s approval ratings.

Asked whether Trump’s four tweets were unpleasant and inelegant, the French leader answered: “you summed up everything.”

He said he thinks that Trump “is doing American politics and I let him do American politics.”

“To be honest, I don’t do diplomacy or politics through tweets and comments”, he added.

Earlier Wednesday, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux suggested that the U.S. president lacked “common decency” by launching his broadside on a day when France was mourning victims of the November 2015 attacks in Paris.

“We were commemorating the assassination of 130 of our compatriots three years ago in Paris and Saint-Denis, and so I will reply in English: ‘Common decency’ would have been appropriate”, Griveaux said.

Trump’s tweets underscored tensions between the once-chummy leaders and displayed the U.S. president’s irritation over criticism of how he acted in France.

“Diplomacy is not made through tweets but through bilateral discussions,” Macron said during Wednesday’s weekly Cabinet meeting in comments reported by Griveaux.

The French and the American leaders met on Saturday in Paris before ceremonies commemorating a century since the armistice of World War I.

Since Macron’s election last year and their first white-knuckle handshake at a NATO summit, they have had an up-and-down relationship. Macron called Trump “my good friend” in front of reporters this weekend and their meeting was described as cordial by the French presidency.

Trump’s tweet Tuesday that said “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!” revived French national pride on social media. Many replied by recalling France’s World Cup victory in July, 20 years after winning its first title.

France player Benjamin Mendy replied “don’t worry bro,” placing two stars in his tweet to signify the country’s two World Cup victories. Many others posted photos and reference to the soccer victory.

French decathlon champion Kevin Mayer tweeted “work in progress, dear Donald,” posting a photo of his recent world record, beating U.S. athlete Ashton Eaton’s previous mark.