US President Trump reportedly asked French President Emmanuel Macron why he does not withdraw his country from the European Union and suggested that the U.S. could offer France a bilateral trade deal if he did so.
According to a reported column published by The Washington Post on Thursday, Trump floated the idea of France’s withdrawal from the European Union to Macron while the French president was visiting the White House in April.
“Why don’t you leave the EU?” Trump reportedly asked.
He then offered to extend a bilateral trade deal to France with better terms than those given to the EU if Macron did withdraw from the union, the Post’s Josh Rogin reported.
The White House declined to give comment to the Post on the reported interaction between Trump and Macron, but did not dispute the account.
Macron is highly unlikely to withdraw from the EU, and France remains one of the union’s key member states. But the reported episode is reflective of Trump’s skepticism of international organizations and alliances more broadly.
As a presidential candidate and since taking office, Trump has questioned the United States’ membership in NATO, withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and threatened to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
He has instead touted “America first” policies and insisted that the U.S. has long been taken advantage of by adversaries and allies alike.
At the Group of Seven summit in Canada earlier this month, for example, Trump warned some of Washington’s closest allies that they could lose access to U.S. markets unless they drastically reduced trade barriers on American companies, goods and services.