President Donald Trump has hit back at recent comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron on the military alliance NATO.
In November, Macron told The Economist magazine that the world was experiencing the “brain death” of NATO, warning that members of the alliance could no longer rely on the U.S.
In comments to the press in London on Tuesday, Trump said his words had been “very, very nasty” to the other 28 member states and it was “very insulting” of the French president to label NATO as brain dead.
“You can’t go around saying that about NATO,” Trump added.
The U.S. leader also took a swipe at France’s economy, suggesting with its high unemployment rate, that the country was “not doing well economically at all.” The unemployment rate in France moved higher to 8.6% in the third quarter of 2019 but has been steadily improving over the past five years.
Trump suggested France was looking to bolster its budget by introducing a levy a digital tax on U.S. giants such as Facebook and Google. The president said he would now counter this move. “They are starting to tax other people’s products, so we are going to tax them,” Trump told the reporters.
On Monday, the White House had said it may impose duties of up to 100% on $2.4 billion in imports of French Champagne, cheese and other luxury goods.
Leading losers in the French stock markets on Tuesday morning were luxury stocks such as Hermes, LVMH and Kering.