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Trump and Macron paper over differences in Paris meeting

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By Carol E. Lee, Kristen Welker and Kelly O’Donnell

PARIS — President Donald Trump met with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday amid new tensions in one of the closest relationships he’s forged with a world leader since taking office.

On the eve of their meeting at the Elysee Palace, Trump criticized Macron’s pitch for hardening European defenses to protect the continent from countries including the U.S. as “insulting.”

The president also decided not to attend a peace conference Macron is hosting in Paris this weekend, where world leaders are gathering to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

But on Saturday morning the pair tried to paper over their differences, with Macron attempting to more clearly explain his vision of a new European army and Trump stressing their friendship and shared positions on “burden sharing” for NATO countries.

Macron called Trump “my good friend” and even squeezed Trump’s knee at the end of their remarks to reporters, a gesture reminiscent of the bromance that’s defined their relationship.

“We have become very good friends over the last couple of years,” Trump said of Macron. “We’re very much similar in our views.”

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