French President Emmanuel Macron, in his address to the US Congress Wednesday, offered an indirect yet robust criticism of a number of Trump Administration policies, particularly the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. The speech was detailed this week in a report from the Huffington Post.
“What is the meaning of our life, really, if we work and live destroying the planet, sacrificing the future of our children?,” Macron asked, in a rebuke to leaders he said valued job creation and industrial prosperity above the long-term health of the planet. He called on the US to ensure that the two countries have “a planet that is still habitable in 25 years.”
The speech, given wholly in English, also touched on human rights, trade and terrorism, calling for the two countries to work together on a host of global issues. But it was hard to ignore the degree to which Macron’s worldview differs from Trump’s, despite the rapport the two have demonstrated.
Yet, Macron also emphasized the need for collaboration between the two nations, saying that “on the long term we will have to face the same realities.”
The French leader has demonstrated a willingness to work alongside Trump to steer him in what he sees as the right direction on questions of global importance, such as the Paris accord. Trump, in turn, has spoken highly of Macron, even calling him “perfect” despite his pro-European Union, liberal sensibilities.
At the moment, the Iran nuclear deal is a hot-button issue between the two leaders – Trump has until May 12th to decide whether to continue with the deal, which he has called “ridiculous.” He has expressed a dim view of the agreement for years, but he has also indicated a willingness to renegotiate the deal. According to Trump, a new deal would need to address Iranian activities in other parts of the region, such as Syria and Yemen, as well as their support for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Trump has also called for permanent restrictions on uranium enrichment.
The day before the speech, Trump said to Macron:
“Nobody knows what I’m going to do on the 12th, although Mr. President, you have a pretty good idea. We’ll see also if I do what some people expect, whether or not it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations.”