French President takes charge on Trump’s favorite platform

Macron Promotes “European Friends”, Asserts Authority Over Trump

Responding to the tariffs, insults, and unpredictability of Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron has chosen a new battleground to contest the US President: Twitter.’

Far from offering conciliation to allies after imposing steel and aluminum duties and deriding Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump caused further turmoil on Friday, just before going to the G7 summit in Canada. He said that Russia should be readmitted to the group, four years after it was expelled after annexing Crimea from Ukraine.

So Macron seized the initiative on Trump’s favorite platform. Having said that he is prepared for a “G6+1” statement with the US isolated, he began Friday with “This G7 will be demanding”, and then put out a series of pointed symbolic messages.

There was a picture with embattled UK Prime Minister Theresa May — whom Trump reportedly denounced as patronizing with a “schoolmistress tone” before heading to Canada — and then a video with the other three European leaders at the summit:

Video of his bilateral session with Trump followed, with Macron emphasizing his work for the “French people” as well as his emphasis on dialogue rather than confrontation:

More European solidarity was signalled in a video of Macron with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The day closed with an image of the French President addressing the other leaders in a meeting in an informal session.

But perhaps the most pointed photograph was of Macron setting out issues to Trump, with the US President looking into the distance: “No discussion is taboo on the rules of trade between Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan.”

Macron was far from the only European figure to take a tougher line with Trump yesterday. Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, set the tone as the meeting began: “The rules-based international order is being challenged, quite surprisingly, not by the usual suspects, but by its main architect and guarantor, the US.”

Trump did have initial support from Italian Prime Minister Conte, “I agree with President @realDonaldTrump: Russia should return to the G8. It is in everyone’s interest.”

But on Saturday, Conte stepped back, saying that Russian re-admission should come only after Moscow met the “Minsk conditions”, including a legal resolution of Crimea’s status.

White House officials maintained late Friday that Trump’s meeting with Mr. Macron was “productive” while the session with Mr. Trudeau was “great”.

But Macron had already left his mark: