Macron gives a nod to reason and truth

Hm, maybe beautiful friendship not so beautiful after all.

[O]n the last day of his state visit on Wednesday, Macron showed he will not be trifled with. He used a speech to a joint session of Congress to engage in a full-scale takedown of Trumpism, wrapped in a love letter to the United States and a call on Americans to live up to the values embedded in our own history.

Macron, speaking forcefully in English, held nothing back. He warned against “the illusion of nationalism” and politicians who “play with fear and anger.”

No president we’ve had in living memory (I can’t swear to anything about Jackson) has played with fear and anger more enthusiastically than Donald Trump. Macron warned against Trump.

Macron predicted that, despite Trump’s abandonment of the Paris climate accord, the United States would one day rejoin it. Turning Trump’s signature campaign theme on its author, the French president issued his patented call to “make our planet great again.” For good measure, he pointedly asked climate change deniers to confront the consequences if they proved to be wrong. “Let us face it,” Macron said, “there is no Planet B.”

If Trump underscored his permissive attitudes toward autocracy by referring on Tuesday to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as “very open” and “very honorable,” Macron spoke of the obligation to stand up for democracy and against authoritarian threats across the globe. And he reminded his American listeners that the chief architect of the multilateral institutions defending democratic ideals was — the United States of America.

“The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism,” Macron said. “You are the one now who has to help to preserve and reinvent it.”

If Trump understands that, he won’t like it.

Again and again, the French leader took on the policies Trump has pursued over the past 15 months. “Massive deregulation,” which is what Trump has been up to, is a bad idea, Macron said. The founder of a new down-the-middle French political party may well be a centrist, but he held nothing back in assailing “the abuses of globalized capitalism” and “financial speculation.” He also urged joint U.S.-European regulation to protect the users of social media.

And he put all he said in the context of a thoroughly Gallic nod to rationality. “Without reason, without truth,” he said, “there is no real democracy.”

There’s only an orange man shouting in rage.

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