French President Rebukes Trump’s “America First” Mantra

“Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” he said as Trump looked on uncomfortably.

President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday.Francois Mori/AP Photo

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President Donald Trump’s troubled trip to France took a turn for the worse on Sunday. After Trump faced international criticism Saturday for skipping a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery to honor soldiers killed in World War I, he received a new rebuke from French President Emmanuel Macron, who took a barely veiled swipe at Trump’s foreign policy during a ceremony Sunday commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

“Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” Macron said at the Armistice Day event, speaking in French. “By saying, ‘Our interests first, who cares about the others,’ we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace, and what is essential: its moral values.”

Macron’s words might normally be unremarkable. Nationalism, often defined as excessive devotion to a nation state, has long been faulted as a cause of wars, particularly the First World War. But Trump has described himself as a nationalist and touted an “America First” approach while questioning the country’s longstanding alliance with Western European states.

“I’m a nationalist,” Trump said during a political rally in Houston last month. “OK? I’m a nationalist. Nationalist. Use that word.”

After Macron’s remarks Sunday, Trump “appeared to grimace while offering muted and delayed applause,” NBC News reported.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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