Trump Flicks Last Shred Of Dignity From France’s Macron
President belittles French leader with gesture viewed as offensive to the visiting foreign dignitary
In a blunt departure from standard protocol during the visit of a foreign dignitary on Tuesday, President Donald Trump reached over and picked “dandruff” off the shoulder of President Emmanuel Macron of France. The gesture simultaneously brushed any remaining self-respect from the European leader.
“We have a very special relationship, in fact I’ll get that little piece of dandruff off,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office as he reached for Mr. Macron’s suit. “We have to make him perfect,” added Mr. Trump in a remark viewed as insulting, but that Mr. Macron seemed to take in stride.
It didn’t please the French people, however, or critics of the president commenting on Twitter, who called the sudden gesture by President Trump a diplomatic “power grab.”
“It’s unusual behavior, certainly,” said presidential historian and MSNBC contributor, Michael Beschloss, “and it’s not hard to understand why some are saying that Mr. Trump treated the younger Mr. Macron in a condescending way, like he was the elder statesman and Macron the neophyte in need of ‘grooming.’”
At one point, Mr. Trump grabbed President Macron’s hand on the South Portico of the White House and pulled him away from reporters, an abrupt tug that made the French president appear weak and under Mr. Trump’s influence.
“We’ll have to wait to see how the world judges President Trump’s performance today,” added Mr. Beschloss, “but there seems little doubt that his awkward handling of this state visit by the French president and his wife will be added to a long list of ‘gauche,’ clumsy dealings by this American president in the company of foreign leaders.”
President and Mrs. Macron are expected to leave Washington on Thursday morning after attending the Trump’s first state dinner at which plenty can go wrong.
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