Trump "insulted" by Macron's proposal for European army


French President Emmanuel Macron's office says President Donald Trump is confused by French President Emmanuel Macron's drive for Europe to create its own army.

Besides conducting talks with Macron, Trump will mark the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice with leaders from across Europe at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.

November 11 marks the 1918 end of World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany, on land, sea, and air.

The French side later clarified that Trump had lumped together two different comments by Macron.

It was the first time since 1940 that leaders from the two countries had met at the historic site, where Germany officially surrendered in 1918.

The cancellation drew derision from some critics, with several suggesting he was afraid of messing up his hair and others noting that the rain had not stopped French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel or Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from visiting memorials.

An American delegation led by Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford did visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial under gray skies and drizzle, paying respect to the almost 2,300 war dead buried there.

"I've seen what they have planned, and I think it's going to be something very, very special".

"We need a much better burden-sharing within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", he said.

The WWI commemorations come at a watershed moment for the liberal post-war order, with anti-immigration populists at the helm in the U.S. and Brazil, sharing power in Italy, and making strong gains in Germany, where Merkel has announced her resignation in 2021 after a series of electoral setbacks.

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President Donald Trump could not attend a commemoration in France for US soldiers and marines killed during World War One on Saturday because rain made it impossible to arrange transport, the White House said.

Unfortunately, it seems that we can expect Trump to tweet rather than act over the next few days during his visit to France.

"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States", he told France's Europe 1 radio. "We want to help Europe but it has to be fair".

Ben Rhodes, who was deputy national security adviser for president Barack Obama, accused Mr Trump of "blowing off honouring American servicemen who died for us" and said the White House should have had a fallback option.

Macron defended his viewpoint, saying he shares Trump's insistence that there be more burden sharing.

More than 2,000 soldiers are buried at the World War I cemetery, many of whom died in the Battle of Belleau Wood. "We have to have a Europe that can defend itself alone - and without only relying on the United States - in a more sovereign manner".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed for France to join more than 70 world leaders gathering in Paris on Sunday to mark the centennial of the end of World War I.

Trump added that the US wants to "absolutely be there" to help defend Europe but that "different countries have to also help".

But Le Monde perhaps risked provoking a presidential tweet on the latter subject when it reported that at the private meeting, "Trump opened by attributing to [the Baltic leaders] the responsibility for the war in Yugoslavia". "Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?" the President asked in a tweet.

The president was scheduled to pay tribute in a ceremony at the AisneMarne American Cemetery in Belleau, about 85 km.