On November 11th, French President Emmanuel Macron commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I by inviting seventy heads of state to organize a costly, useless, grandiloquent “Forum of Peace” that did not lead to anything. He also invited US President Donald Trump, and then chose to insult him. In a pompous speech, Macron — knowing that a few days earlier, Donald Trump had defined himself as a nationalist committed to defending America — invoked “patriotism”; then defined it, strangely, as “the exact opposite of nationalism”; then called it “treason”.
In addition, shortly before the meeting, Macron had not only spoken of the “urgency” of building a European army; he also placed the United States among the “enemies” of Europe. This was not the first time Macron placed Europe above the interests of his own country. It was, however, the first time he had placed the United States on the list of enemies of Europe.
President Trump apparently understood immediately that Macron’s attitude was a way to maintain his delusions of grandeur,as well as to try to derive a domestic political advantage. Trump also apparently understood that he could not just sit there and accept insults. In a series of tweets, Trump reminded the world that France had needed the help of the USA to regain freedom during World Wars, that NATO was still protecting a virtually defenseless Europe and that many European countries were still not paying the amount promised for their own defense. Trump added that Macron had an extremely low approval rating (26%), was facing an extremely high level of unemployment, and was probably trying to divert attention from that.
Trump was right. For months, the popularity of Macron has been in free fall: he is now the most unpopular French President in modern history at this stage of his mandate. The French population has turned away from him in droves.