French leader uses food analogy to describe chats with Trump after report claims their tariffs conversation terrible
Emmanuel Macron has said his phone calls with Donald Trump and other world leaders are like sausages: better not explain whats inside.
During a news conference with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron was asked about a CNN report on Monday which claimed a phone call between the French president and his American counterpart last week had been terrible.
Borrowing a famous quote from the 19th-century Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck, Macron summed up his policy of refraining from making off-the-record comments about his conversations with other world leaders.
As Bismarck used to say, if we explained to people how sausages were made, its unlikely theyd keep eating them, he said. So I like it when people see the finished meal, but Im not convinced the kitchen commentary helps with delivering the meal or eating it.
A readout from the French presidency of Macrons call with Trump last week said the 40-year-old president had told Trump his decision to impose tariffs on the exports of US allies was illegal and a mistake.
The shorter White House readout of the same call stated the conversation had focused on trade and immigration, without elaborating.
Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship. But Trump cant handle being criticised like that, CNN quoted an unidentified source as saying. Just bad. It was terrible.
Macron, appalled by his predecessor Franois Hollandes frequent off-the-record comments to journalists, has kept the press at a distance since his election last year and banned his aides from giving behind-the-scenes accounts of his presidency.
You can go and ask the people who make comments, but here in Paris we dont make comments on how it went, or how hot, cold, warm or terrible things are. We just go ahead and do things, Macron said.
He added that he would have a useful and frank exchange with Trump at the next G7 summit in Canada on 7-8 June about issues on which they agree and those where they disagree.
Since taking office, Macron has had more than 20 phone calls with Trump, speaking in English without intermediaries. I call him very regularly, Macron said this year. Im always very direct and frank. Sometimes I manage to convince him and sometimes I fail.