NEW YORK — Gone is the shoulder squeezing, the affectionate dandruff-brushing — and French President Emmanuel Macron’s hope that he could use his unlikely friendship with Donald Trump to rein in the American president’s more incendiary instincts.
When the two men met Monday in New York, they shook hands lightly and got down to the tasks at hand. They agreed to disagree on the Iranian nuclear accord and Trump’s protectionist policies and one-sided support for Israel, according to two French presidential advisers.
“Nationalism always leads to defeat,” said the progressive, multilateralist Macron.
At their meeting, “Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to closely coordinate to address global challenges,” the White House said. Macron specified that meant working together on Syria and a new U.S. trade deal with Europe — as long as it doesn’t involve such things as American GMO products that make European consumers wary.
Macron appeared to convince Trump to follow through on promises to visit Paris in November to mark 100 years since the armistice ending World War I, and added a possible battlefield tour to Trump’s program.
And Trump offered Macron an unexpected compliment, praising him as the new “hardliner” of Europe for his tough stance on Brexit negotiations, according to the French officials. The officials took part in Monday’s meeting but were not authorized to be publicly named according to presidential policy.