French President Emmanuel Macron pressed the United States to engage more in global affairs, during a speech to Congress Wednesday, contrasting with the steps Trump has taken toward isolationism in the White House.
“The 21st century has brought a series of new threats and new challenges that our ancestors might have never imagined,” he said. “We can build the 21st century world order based on a new breed multilateralism, based on a more effective, accountable, and results-oriented multilateralism.”
He continued: “This requires more than ever the United States involvement as your role was decisive for creating and safeguarding this free world. The United States is the one who invented this multilateritism. You are the one who has to help now to preserve and reinvent it.”
He also stressed the importance of taking care of the environment, a pointed remark given the track record of the Trump administration and Trump’s appointees toward deregulation related to environmental concerns.
“We must find a smoother transition to a lower carbon economy,” he said. “Because what is the meaning of our life, really, if we work and live destroying the planet while sacrificing the future of our children?”
“Let us face it: There is no planet B,” he added.
Macron’s address coincided with the 58th anniversary of then-French President Charles de Gaulle’s address to a joint session of Congress.
Macron — who has been dubbed by some observers as a “Trump whisperer” — has been able to develop one of the closest relationships Trump maintains with a world leader. He started his speech thanking and praising his American counterpart. He stressed the importance of the relationship between the United States and France, a relationship forged since the start of the US.
“We have shared the history of civil rights,” he said. “Thousands of examples come to mind. One would think of the exchanges between our cultures across the centuries.”
Macron’s speech to Congress came after he spent two days with Trump tackling a slew of pressing policy issues, from the Iran nuclear deal to the Syrian civil war, climate, counterterrorism and Russian aggression.
During his time in DC, he’s been on a mission to convince Trump to stick with the Iran deal, but despite the apparent warmth of their relationship, he been facing an uphill struggle.
Trump railed against the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday, calling the agreement negotiated by the Obama administration “insane” and “ridiculous” for failing to contain Tehran.
Still, he maintained that he could soon strike an agreement with Macron.
In anticipation of his visit to Washington, Macron held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is set to visit Washington on Friday.