Trump leaves for Paris with political headwinds back home

French President Emmanuel Macron visits the Renault Maubeuge Construction Automobile factory in Maubeuge France

Trump and Macron had presented their relationship as a good friendship in the earlier days of Macron's ascension as president of France.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who just arrived in Paris for WWI 100th anniversary commemorations, said Friday that French President Emmanuel Macron's suggestion of Europe building its own military to protect itself from the U.S. and other nations "very insulting".

The French President told France's Europe 1 radio: "We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States".

At a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in July, Mr. Trump similarly railed against the European leaders as he was meeting them, tweeting "What good is North Atlantic Treaty Organisation if Germany is paying Russian Federation billions of dollars for gas and energy?"

During an interview with radio station Europe 1 he said the trade bloc needed to be less reliant on the USA, particularly following Trump's decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Both Trump and Mr Macron are scheduled to meet on Saturday morning at the French President's official residence, Élysée Palace, in Paris. Since the beginning of his term, Trump has been urging US NATO allies in Europe to up their defense spending.

The "main victim" of the withdrawal, Macron argued, is "Europe and its security".

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Trump angrily responded to the former first lady Friday with an irrelevant swipe at former President Barack Obama over cuts in military spending.

The primary objective of the president's visit, according to the administration official, will be attending ceremonies around the centennial commemoration of the end of World War I.

For Sunday's armistice anniversary, Mr. Trump was to join world leaders at a ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe.

"We have many countries - the leadership from many countries will be there, especially since they heard the United States will be there".

The trip comes as the White House looks to grapple with a new political reality of Democrats taking the House in Tuesday's midterm elections and the fallout from the president's sudden firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "I think it's going to be something very special". The two leaders are expected to discuss European concerns about Trump's plans to withdraw the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and renewal of United States sanctions against Iran.

The White House and the Kremlin had previously considered a formal meeting in Paris.

European leaders have been rattled since a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit earlier in the year, when they perceived Trump's demands for billions of additional dollars in military spending from them as a threat that the United States would pull out of the almost 70-year-old alliance. That now seems more likely for later this month, when they attend the G20 summit of global leaders in Argentina.

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