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Trump meets French President Macron
01:19 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Trump made good on his promises as a candidate to "cancel" the accord

Macron supports the agreement

CNN  — 

President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement loomed over his visit to the city Thursday, with both he and French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledging that the prickly topic came up during their private discussions.

Trump ostensibly used the city of Paris as a foil during his 2016 campaign, regularly using it to show the impacts of crime, terrorism and runaway bureaucracy. But it was his controversial decision to leave the city’s eponymous global climate agreement that hung over his first visit to the City of Light.

“I was elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said at the June Rose Garden event where he announced his decision to get out of the international agreement that looked to reduce American emissions by 26-28% in a decade.

The President suggested Thursday that there could be a future change in his position on the Paris agreement, but offered no concrete evidence to back up that possibility.

“Something could happen with respect to the Paris Accord. We’ll see what happens,” he said after a French reporter asked him whether “is it possible for you to come back to the Paris accord.”

“But we will talk about that over the coming period of time. And if it happens, that’ll be wonderful. And if it doesn’t, that’ll be OK, too. But we’ll see what happens,” he said.

By leaving the agreement, Trump made good on his promises as a candidate to “cancel” the accord. At the time, those close to him said he was insistent on fulfilling that promise, despite some members of his own family and administration urging him to stay.

Macron responded to Trump’s departure by delivering a not-so-subtle message directly to him in English: “Make our planet great again,” he said, cribbing the frame of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

Through Macron – in a subtle attempt to look beyond his personal relationship with Trump – suggested Thursday that the ties between the United States and France go “beyond daily news,” he did little to hide their disagreement on the Paris agreement.

Standing next to Trump, the French President said that while he remains “extremely attached to the framework of the Paris Accord,” he “very much respect(s) the decision taken by President Trump.”

“We have a number of disagreements which are in particular due to the commitments taken by President Trump… during the presidential campaign,” Macron said. “I’m aware of how important that is, but we therefore talked about our disagreement. And we actually discussed the matter even before President Trump reached a decision.”

Both Trump and Macron looked to cast their relationship as a friendly one during the news conference.

Asked whether their dinner on Thursday night at the tony Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower would be a “dinner between friends,” both said yes.

“I can tell you that this evening at the Eiffel Tower, it will be a dinner between friends,” Macron said. “It will, therefore, give me great pleasure to have dinner together with you tonight.”

Trump added: “We have a very good relationship, a good friendship. And we look forward to dinner tonight at the Eiffel Tower.”