Trump on “brain death” remarks: Emmanuel Macron has insulted NATO alliance
US President Donald Trump declared Tuesday that his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron's criticism of NATO as "brain dead" was very insulting. "NATO serves a great purpose," Trump said, at a joint press appearance with alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the allies' summit. "I think that's very insulting," he said of Macron's comment, branding it a "very, very nasty statement essentially to 28 countries."
U.S. President Donald Trump says French President Emmanuel Macron's recent comments that NATO is experiencing "brain death" is very insulting to the military alliance's other 28 members.
Trump took aim at Macron with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by his side and called his comments "very nasty."
Macron said the alliance was experiencing "brain death" in an interview with the Economist published last month, suggesting that the alliance was becoming obsolete.
Earlier November, Macron called NATO "brain dead" in an interview with The Economist. He also expressed doubts on the applicability of the principle of collective defense, explaining that the U.S. showed signs of "turning its back" on its military allies as it had "demonstrated starkly with its unexpected troop withdrawal from northeastern Syria last month."
"Nobody needs NATO more than France," Trump said.
Trump has repeatedly criticized fellow NATO members and complained that too few nations are on track to meet the alliance goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense by 2024.
TRUMP SAYS HE CAN SEE FRANCE BREAKING OFF FROM NATO
Trump said on he could see France breaking off from NATO which he described as a surprise because he believes it needs more protection than anybody else.
"I do see France breaking off," Trump told reporters during a meeting with the head of NATO in London.
"I'm looking at him (French President Emmanuel Macron) and I'm saying that he needs protection more than anybody and I see him breaking off. So I'm a little surprised at that."
TRUMP TARGETS FRANCE OVER DIGITAL SERVICE TAX
Trump also lashed out at France for a digital service tax that he said unfairly discriminates against U.S. tech companies, including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
Robert Lighthizer, the chief U.S. trade representative, on Monday recommended the U.S. respond with $2.4 billion in new tariffs on French cheese, wine and other products.
Trump is scheduled to meet Macron later Tuesday on the sidelines of the NATO summit.