President Trump wasted no time taking a jab at his French counterpart Friday as he arrived in Paris for events marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. Tweeting as he landed, Mr. Trump said President Emmanuel Macron had made an "insulting" proposal to build up Europe's military to counter the U.S., China and Russian Federation.
Macron this week said in a radio interview that a "strong and sovereign Europe" was needed to defend the continent's interests against China, Russia and "even the U.S".
In the touchdown tweet, Trump suggested Europe first pay "its fair share" of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation before contemplating a Europe-wide force.
Trump arrived in France late on Friday (US time), days after Americans delivered a split referendum on his presidency in the midterm congressional election, keeping the Senate in his party's control but ceding the House to opposition Democrats.
The fresh dispute between the two leaders, who have had a hot and cold relationship, threatens to cast a pall on Sunday's ceremony here marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, in which 40 million people died.
Speaking to reporters Friday before his departure Trump said he was "looking forward" to the trip.
As president, Trump has repeatedly chastised North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members for failing to spend more on defence, and has suggested that the US was growing disinterested in "paying for Europe's protection" any longer. The European Commission says closer defence cooperation "is not about creating an EU army".
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"I don't know that we're seeing each other in Paris, but we may", Mr Trump said.
French officials said Macron's mooted European Union "army" was merely a call for closer defence integration.
He's expected to meet with leader Emmanuel Macron Saturday, to discuss a range of issues including trade.
Trump and Macron are schedule to have bilateral meeting during his stay in France.
"I've seen what they have planned, and I think it's going to be something very, very special".
"We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army", he continued. Although leaders like Mr Macron will not likely take kindly to the tone in the USA president's tweet.
The president, joined by his wife Melania and high-ranking U.S. officials, arrived late on Friday aboard Air Force One for a visit that he called "very special" and one that he "looked forward to".