Trump woos Macron, may disappoint on Paris Agreement

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Story highlights

  • The two presidents had lunch in Brussels
  • A French official described an amiable rapport

Taormina, Sicily (CNN)As the G7 talks come to an end here, President Donald Trump seemed to have forged a bond with newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron, a French official told CNN. But Trump may disappoint on a key international issue facing him after the NATO and G7 meetings: the Paris Agreement.

During a working lunch in Brussels ahead of the NATO summit, President Trump made it clear to Macron he would not announce a decision on the Paris climate agreement prior to the G7, this official told CNN.
Trump told Macron he is under "heavy" pressure back in the US on the climate accord brokered by the Obama administration in 2015.
    "A lot of people in my country are against this agreement," Trump told Macron during their lunch, according to this person.
    "We knew he was not going to make a decision at the G7" on climate, the French official said.
    The President returns home on Saturday with dueling interests: satisfying new foreign diplomatic relationships and also appealing to his conservative and nationalist base.
    On Saturday, as the summit concluded in Sicily, Macron said in a press conference that he hopes that US "fully remains" in the Paris Agreement, citing significant financial commitments from France. "Trump is a pragmatic person, I hope he will confirm his commitments, perhaps at his own pace."
    The French official described an amiable rapport that the two leaders have swiftly struck. In preparations for the Trump-Macron lunch in Brussels, the White House team told its French counterpart to limit the meal to no more than an hour and 15 minutes. The White House team also asked the French president to be "precise" in his conversation with Trump, the French official said. The lunch ended up running more than a half hour longer than anticipated.
    It's not the first time the two have spoken. After the election, Trump called Macron to congratulate him on his victory. During the conversation, which was described as friendly, Trump denied that he had ever supported Marine Le Pen despite the fact that he had tweeted supportive comments of the National Front leader.
    "I didn't support this woman," Trump told Macron during the call. The official said Trump repeatedly referred to Le Pen as "this woman" in their conversation and never mentioned her by name, the official noted.
    "I was never involved with her," Trump added according to this official.
    Trump also asked to exchange cell phone numbers with Macron. "Do you want my cell phone so we can speak directly to each other?" Trump asked Macron.
    The US and French presidents had a warm conversation, the official added, noting Trump appeared to compare himself to Macron by complimenting him on both his business background and for mounting an underdog campaign to become the president. The two leaders also spoke about boosting cooperation on counterterrorism efforts.