Macron vs Trump at the UN General Assembly

Macron vs Trump at the UN General Assembly
By Camille Bello & Thomas Duthois & Sallyann Nicholls
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While both leaders have professed friendship and support for each other in public, they stood at opposite ends of the spectrum on many issues they addressed at the UN on Tuesday.


Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron delivered speeches to the UN with almost opposite perspectives on key points.

But while both leaders have professed support and friendship for each other in public, they stand at opposite ends of the spectrum on many issues impacting the world today.

The US leader said he prioritised energy security, while France's president spent considerable time discussing the need to combat climate change.

The pair also differed over Israel and international trade.

Here are some key points from their speeches:


On globalism, Trump hailed the concepts of patriotism and American sovereignty.

"America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism," Trump said.

Macron said, " This path I confirm that the unilateralism leads us to withdrawal and conflict."

Trade imbalances

On the topic of solutions for trade imbalances, Macron advocated for fair trade, saying:

"What will solve the problem of trade imbalances and their consequences for our societies? Common rules... but in no case bilateral treatment of all our commercial differences or new protectionism. That, will not work."

Meanwhile, Trump said the days of fair trade are over for America, explaining how the US lost nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs, a quarter of them being steel jobs to China since they joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"Trade must be fair and reciprocal ... but those days are over. We will no longer tolerate such abuse. We will not allow our workers to be victimised – our companies to be cheated and our wealth to be plundered and transferred."


On issues regarding migration, both leaders were on opposite sides of the spectrum, with Macron calling for sensible solutions, while Trump called illegal immigration as a source of criminality.

"I don’t believe in the idea of unconditional openness. This simply leads to worry and intolerance ... I don’t believe in the misleading speech of those who claim particularly in Europe and elsewhere that they will be more protected behind a border closure. That’s not true either," Macron said, explaining how getting to the source of the migration crisis needs to be solved realistically.

"Illegal immigration exploits vulnerable populations hurts hardworking citizens and has produced a vicious circle of crime, violence, and poverty. funds criminal networks, ruthless gangs and the flow of deadly drugs ... only by upholding national borders and destroying criminal gangs can we establish a real foundation for prosperity, We recognise the right of every nation in this room to set its own immigration policy in accordance with its national interests." Trump said.

Other viewpoint clashes were in two key areas:

Nuclear Iran

Where US President Donald Trump was keen to defend Washington’s abandonment of the Iran deal earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron hailed its success and called for talks to restart to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme.

"We already know the situation was degrading. But what stopped that? The Vienna Agreement of 2015 ... our task is not to fuel tensions but to rather put forward a broader agenda that addresses all concerns …nuclear, ballistic, regional ones ...caused by Iranian policies. But this, through dialogue and multilateralism. Being frank, as well as exacting," Macron said.


Trump furthered his lashings on Iran, blaming the nation for deepening the Syrian crisis.

"Iran’s leaders - sow chaos, death, and destruction. We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime," Trump said.


The two leaders also had sparring opinions about the Middle East conflict in Israel, namely on the topic of Jerusalem.

"What can resolve the crisis between Israel/Palestine? Well, surely, not unilateral initiatives. Not trampling on the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to the legitimate peace. Nor, underestimating Israelis fair right to security. There’s no credible alternative to the two-state solution, living side-by-side in peace and security with Jerusalem, as capital," Macron said.

"This year, we took another significant step forward in the Middle East, in recognition of every sovereign state to determine its own capital. I moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including the peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians," Trump said.

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