Former U.S. President Donald Trump accused Emmanuel Macron of pandering to China leader Xi Jinping during the French president’s recent closely watched visit to Beijing.
Trump, who seeks to regain the White House in 2024, forged an adversarial relationship with China during his presidency even as he called Xi his “very good friend.”
Trump in a television interview derided Democratic President Joe Biden’s foreign policy as having emboldened Russia, North Korea and China and sidelined the United States as a world leader – criticism that was often leveled at his own administration.
“You got this crazy world is blowing up and the United States has absolutely no say. And Macron, who’s a friend of mine, is over with China kissing his ass,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News late on Tuesday.
A senior French diplomat on Wednesday responded to Trump’s comments, telling reporters, “They are vile.” The diplomat pointed to Trump’s own comments during a November 2017 visit to Beijing, when he said “I don’t blame China” for the trade deficit.
At the end of his visit last week, Macron called on the European Union to reduce on dependence on the United States and cautioned against being drawn into a crisis over Taiwan driven by an “American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction.”
As president, Trump upended some tenets of America’s post-World War Two foreign policy by questioning the NATO alliance, alienating European partners and indulging autocrats.
Trump himself was accused of pandering to world leaders, autocrats in particular, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un.
He praised Putin and was famously accused by his 2016 Democratic presidential opponent Hillary Clinton of being “Putin’s puppet.” He held a summit with Kim in 2018 and declared at a rally with supporters that “we fell in love” after exchanging letters.