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24 Aug, 2019 16:09

All change: Trump calls Macron ‘friend’ at G7 after slamming French leader as ‘foolish’ weeks ago

All change: Trump calls Macron ‘friend’ at G7 after slamming French leader as ‘foolish’ weeks ago

Having just arrived at the G7 summit meeting in France, the US President heaped praise upon his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, striking a very different tone from the one he’d struck only four weeks ago.

Shortly after reaching Biarritz for the summit, President Donald Trump was entertained to a lunch by his host, President Macron. During an impromptu press conference and photo-op, Trump said very kind words about Macron, calling him a “friend” with whom he says he has “a special relationship.”

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To say that it’s a far cry from not so long ago would be a gross understatement. In late July, in an angry tweet, Trump vented his frustration over France imposing a digital tax on American tech companies. In it he called Macron “foolish” and threatened to put tariffs on French wine, going so far as to make what, according to many, was a sacrilegious claim that “American wine was better”.

On Saturday Trump dismissed the mutual spats of the past with a ‘boys will be boys’ kind of justification: “Every once in a while we go at it a little bit”, Trump said. It remains to be seen, however, how long this bout of good will is going to last.

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The charm offensive may not be sincere but it’s certainly necessary, as there is much to discuss between the two leaders, who rarely see eye-to-eye on anything, from purely bilateral topics to international issues such as Iran, the US trade war with China and Brexit. Getting off on the wrong foot on a personal level certainly wouldn’t help.