U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron's "brain dead" comment on NATO was "insulting" and "very disrespectful".
"I heard that President Macron said NATO was brain dead. I think that's very insulting to a lot of different courses," said Trump, in a joint news conference with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the alliance's summit in London.
"When you have such difficulty in France, you look at what's happened with the Yellow Vests. You look at what's going on during certain parts of this season. They've had a very rough year, and you just can't go around making statements like that about NATO. It's very disrespectful," he said.
"Nobody needs NATO more than France," Trump said.
He added it is "very dangerous" for France to make such comments.
Earlier in November, Macron called NATO "brain dead" in an interview with The Economist. He also expressed doubts on the applicability of the principle of collective defense, explaining that the U.S. showed signs of "turning its back" on its military allies as it had "demonstrated starkly with its unexpected troop withdrawal from northeastern Syria last month".
Talking on the tariff crisis between the U.S. and France, Trump said: "I'm not gonna let people take advantage of American companies. If anyone's going to take advantage of the American companies, it's going to be us. It's not going to be France.”
The Trump administration on Monday proposed tariffs on up to $2.4 billion worth of French imports, including cheese, lipstick, handbags and sparkling wine, in a tit-for-tat response to France's tax on American tech giants including Google, Amazon and Facebook.
Criticizing the lack of action by the former U.S. presidents, Trump also said he was pushing negotiations with South Korea and Japan, two American allies in the Asia Pacific, to up their spending in shouldering the cost of deploying U.S. troops in those countries.
Both Stoltenberg and Trump agreed on the importance of developing good relations with Russia. Additionally, Trump said Russia wants to make a nuclear arms control deal -- after the U.S. terminated an existing nuclear treaty between the two military competitors in early August.
The unilateral annulment of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, signed by former U.S. and Russian presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, meant the death of arms control efforts that took decades for nations to realize. The accord prohibited Washington and Moscow from fielding ground-launched cruise missiles that could fly between 310 and 3,400 miles.