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Trump to Macron: 'Would You Like Some Nice ISIS Fighters?'

The two meet one-on-one after sparring earlier in the day
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2019 1:57 PM CST
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President Donald Trump meets President Emmanuel Macron at Winfield House during the NATO summit, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in London.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – There was no love lost between President Trump and Emmanuel Macron at the start of Day 1 of the NATO 70th-anniversary summit in London, with the two publicly clashing over the alliance. Hours later came a pre-scheduled one-on-one that the Hill calls "tense" but the Washington Post sees as featuring "a veneer of conciliation." The exchange getting the most attention is one the Post calls a "moment of jocular chest-thumping": a discussion of what to do with captured ISIS fighters. "Many are from France, many from Germany, and many are from UK," Politico quotes Trump as saying. "They're mostly from Europe, and some of the countries are agreeing [to take them]. I have not spoken to [Macron] about that. Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you."

"Let’s be serious," Macron replied, "A very large numbers of fighters you have on the ground are ISIS fighters coming from Syria, from Iraq and the region. It is true that you have foreign fighters coming from Europe, but this is a tiny minority of the overall problem we have in the region." Trump wasn't impressed but remained jocular. "This is why he's a great politician," he said of Macron. "Because that is one of the greatest non-answers I’ve ever heard, and that’s OK." More:

  • The AP flags another exchange between the two that it sees as revealing the "chasm" between them: their different opinions on Turkey's planned purchase of a Russian anti-aircraft system, which Macron thinks is inappropriate for a NATO member; Trump mentioned sanctioning Turkey if they make the purchase.
  • Politico sees Trump's verbal tussles with Macron as perhaps "the first of many testy exchanges between Trump and fellow leaders this week regarding the administration's jarring series of policy shifts in Syria two months ago, which were met with sustained criticism from congressional lawmakers and the international community."
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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