Macron to Congress: Don't 'Close the Door to the World'

French president seemingly takes issue with Trump's 'America First' agenda
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2018 2:54 PM CDT
French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he is introduced before speaking to a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 25, 2018.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – French President Emmanuel Macron addressed Congress Wednesday during his visit to Washington, DC, quoting what the AP calls "chilling words from an American soldier-poet" to emphasize France's historical alliance with the US. "I have a Rendezvous with Death," he said, quoting a poem written by Alan Seeger as he fought in the World War I battlefields of northern France, where he died in 1916. Macron used the poem to illustrate how the US and France have sacrificed for each other over the decades, but also to take aim at President Trump's favored policy of isolationism. He warned the US against such a policy: "We can choose isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism ... but closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world," he said. The BBC says the speech was seen as "a thinly veiled attack on ... Trump's America First agenda."

He also spoke out against "fake news," jokingly apologizing to Trump for violating the US president's "copyright" on the term. Lies are being spread online, he said, and that threatens freedom: "Without reason, without truth, there is no real democracy because democracy is about true choices and rational decisions." He also warned against "terrorist propaganda that spreads its fanaticism on the internet." But he raised other differences with Trump, including Iran, trade, and climate change; when speaking on the latter, he played on Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," noting that he believes the US will re-join the Paris climate agreement after Trump canceled US involvement in the climate accord. "Let us work together in order to make our planet great again and create new jobs and new opportunities while safeguarding our earth," Macron said.

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