President Trump was not the only first-timer to speak at the United Nations General Assembly this year. French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke there for the very first time. He used his appearance to offer a point-by-point rebuke of Trump’s speech which happened two hours earlier.
Macron declared that the best way to meet the new world challenges is by working together, not alone. The French president ruled out any renegotiations on the Paris climate accord and said that the rest of the world would move forward without the United States. Macron also warned that President Trump’s threats to leave the Iran nuclear accord would make the world more dangerous. Finally, he said that declaring military threats against North Korea was “impetuous” and counter-productive.
“Our challenges are global, and more than ever we need multilateralism,” Macron said during his 35-minute address to the assembly. “Walls don’t protect us; what protects us is our joint willingness to change history. We are all linked.”
Aides to Macron said that he reworked his address after hearing the speech given by Trump. This back and forth from the U.N. stage is just the latest complication in the relationship between these world leaders.
At a news conference, Macron said that Trump respects leaders who make their differences clear. He then said that many of his views he shares with Trump, and he said their countries will continue to work closely on security and terrorism. But he won’t hold back on the things he disagrees with Trump about.
Macron took issue with Trump wanting to pull out of the Iran accord, an agreement Trump said was “one of the worst ever.” He said pulling out without an alternative plan would be dangerous. And on North Korea, Macron said, “you only need to look at the map” to see why there isn’t a military solution to North Korea’s nuclear tests. “We are in a geography where a military intervention would be very complex, an area that is densely populated,” he said.
Macron also said in his new conference that he “regrets” that Trump chose to leave the Paris climate accord and said he wants “to convince him to come back to this agreement because, for me, that’s the core agreement for climate.” But he ruled out any weakening of the treaty.
Macron began his speech by describing the “special debt” France had to the United Nations.
“If I am here it’s because of countries 70 years ago that rose up to defeat the barbarism that had occupied my country,” he said. “I owe it to those who, once the war was over, chose reconciliation and reconstruction, to those who thought it was necessary to resurrect the ideas that had been so violated in the war.”
What do you think about how this young leader of France responded to Trump’s speech?