Podcast: Macron and Trump is Not a “Bromance” — It’s French Power Politics

Emmanuel Macron with Donald Trump in the White House, April 24, 2018

I joined William Crawley and BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback on Wednesday to discuss the misleading presentation of French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Washington as a “bromance” with Donald Trump.

Body language expert Judi James talks about the alpha-male maneuvers of Trump and Macron, from hand-holding to Trump’s brushing of alleged dandruff off the Frenchman’s lapel. Then I discuss the politics, anticipating a Macron — far from being subservient to Trump — setting out an image of an international leader standing up for Europe and to the US.

On Donald Trump’s side, this is “love me, need me, respect me”. From Macron’s side — and this is very clever — it’s not a “bromance”. If you want to sway Trump and move him to where you want him to be, you play to his ego and let him get away with his alpha posturing, and then you do the serious work with US officials.

Macron is saying, “Look, we are going to have an assertive foreign policy. We’re going to play up to Trump but we are the ones who are going on.”

Not just Macron but most leaders around the world leaders think Trump is a bit of the buffoon. But you don’t tell him he’s a buffoon, you smile at him if you want to get your way.

Hours after this chat, Macron did exactly that in a speech to the US Congress.

See TrumpWatch, Day 361: Macron Rips Trump in Speech to Congress, Worries Over Iran Deal

Listen to Discussion

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. Big difference between the two is on the iranian nuclear deal. Macron is begging Trump to respect it but everything seems to lead to Trump taking it down. Deadline for US response i think is 12th May.

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