Trump mocks France for World War losses

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hug after unveiling a plaque in the Clairiere of Rethondes during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day 100 years after the end of the First World War in Compiegne France Novemb

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hug after unveiling a plaque in the Clairiere of Rethondes during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day 100 years after the end of the First World War in Compiegne France Novemb

Trump arrived separately, in a motorcade that drove past three topless protesters with anti-war slogans on their chests who somehow got through the rows of security and were quickly bundled away by police.

Macron delivered a stinging indictment of nationalism in a 20-minute speech and called on leaders to learn the lessons of the past. "Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism", he said.

The gulf between Trump's "America First" credo and European leaders was starkly underscored again later Sunday, when Trump went his own way. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the US subsidizes greatly!"

The millions of soldiers who died in the Great War fought to defend the "universal values" of France, he said, and to reject the "selfishness of nations only looking after their own interests". Around him, former French soldiers stood rigidly to attention.

Conceived by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Forum is meant to highlight the importance of worldwide institutions in helping resolve conflicts, avert wars and spread prosperity.

On Sunday, he and first lady Melania Trump travelled separately from most of the other presidents and dignitaries attending the event, who had gathered earlier at the Elysee Palace and travelled to the ceremony by bus. He pulled out of a similar ceremony east of Paris on Saturday due to the weather.

Some saw Trump's no-show in Belleau Wood as a sign of disrespect to USA soldiers who fought and died in the trenches. "We renew our sacred obligation to memorialize our fallen heroes" at the cemetery, "where they rest for all eternity", he said. The question remains open whether the multilateralists can do that without US leadership.

"Through rain, hail, snow, mud, poisonous gas, bullets, and mortar, they held the line, and pushed onward to victory ... never knowing if they would ever again see their families or ever again hold their loved ones".

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Addressing one veteran, he joked: "You look so comfortable up there under shelter as we're getting drenched". How can you speak of morality without being concerned primarily for the people you represent? That triggered an avalanche of criticism from Americans and others who have profound respect for nationalism.

France was the epicenter of World War I, the first global conflict.

Trump watched on as the French president added: 'I know there are old demons which are coming back to the surface.

"Sometimes, history threatens to retake its tragic course and threaten our heritage of peace that we believed we had forever settled with our ancestors' blood".

Trump appeared alongside world leaders-including Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin-after missing a scheduled visit the day before to Aisne-American Cemetery and Memorial to honor American soldiers killed in the war.

Trump had begun the short trip to Paris by laying into Macron for his European army proposal but had calmed down by the time the two leaders met Saturday for extended talks.

In part, his warnings seemed aimed at far-right parties that have gained ground across Europe in recent elections, including in France, where the National Front, now renamed the National Rally, has nudged ahead of Macron's En Marche movement in the polls ahead of European Parliament elections next May.

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