Trump and Macron’s bromance might be in trouble after ‘terrible’ call over tariffs

  • US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron’s had a tense phone call last week.
  • It came after Trump announced the US would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the EU, sources told CNN.
  • The call came the same day as Trump announced the decision, which Macron called a “mistake.”
  • Other world leaders, including British Prime Minister Theresa May and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have hit back at Trump’s announcement.

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron had a tense call last week, in which Macron criticized Trump’s latest round of policies that impose tariffs on American allies.

Sources told CNN the “terrible” call was an unusual sour point in the two leaders’ close relationship.

“Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship,” one source said to CNN. “But Trump can’t handle being criticized like that.”

A White House readout said the call was focused on trade and immigration and that Trump “underscored the need to rebalance trade with Europe.”

The call came the same day Trump announced the US would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Macron said in a statement from the Elysee Palace that the decision was “not only illegal, it is a mistake on many points.”

“It responds to a worldwide unbalance that exists in the worst ways through fragmentations and economic nationalism,” the statement said. “If these kind of things impacted our relations, it would have been the case since day one because he has decided to leave the Paris [climate] agreement.”

Macron was not the only world leader to lash out at the decision. British Prime Minister Theresa May also had a confrontational call with Trump Monday about the tariffs, which she called “unjustified and deeply disappointing“.

“The Prime Minister said the US, UK and EU are close national security allies and we recognise the importance of the values of open and fair trade across the world,” a Downing Street statement said. “The Prime Minister also underlined the need to safeguard jobs that would potentially be affected by the decision.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hit back at the “insulting and unacceptable” tariffs and vowed Canada would not be “pushed around.”

Trump and Macron have been a dynamic pair in the past, siding together on certain global issues and making headlines with their over-the-top handshakes. However, despite their friendly public image boosted by widely followed state visits, this is not the first time the two leaders have disagreed on policy.

Macron publicly commented he had tried to convince Trump last year to carefully consider before pulling out of the Paris agreement. Trump nevertheless exited the climate deal.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a Monday press briefing the US has had months of discussions with Canada, Mexico, and the EU to discuss potential alternative solutions.

“Without an alternative, tariffs are the only measure appropriate to safeguard the country,” Sanders said. “We have strong relations with Canada, Mexico, and the EU and those will continue even though the tariffs are there.”