Update: Macron and Trump have been meeting for barely an hour, and it appears they've already made progress on a number of issues.
Here are a few headlines. More are expected.
- TRUMP SAYS HE AND MACRON COULD HAVE AN AGREEMENT SOON ON IRAN
- TRUMP SAYS AFTER TALKS WITH MACRON HE BELIEVES THEY HAVE SOLUTIONS TO A NUMBER OF ISSUES: RTRS
- TRUMP SAYS TRADE WITH FRANCE IS COMPLICATED BECAUSE OF THE EU, WHICH HAS TRADE BARRIERS THAT ARE UNACCEPTABLE
- TRUMP SAYS HE WOULD PREFER TO DEAL DIRECTLY WITH FRANCE ON TRADE
- TRUMP SAYS TREASURY SECRETARY MNUCHIN IS GOING TO CHINA IN A FEW DAYS TO NEGOTIATE ON TRADE: RTRS
- TRUMP SAYS U.S. HAS VERY GOOD CHANCE OF A DEAL WITH CHINA: RTRS
After Trump's bellicose remarks this morning, we imagine Macron feels the meeting is going better than he'd expected.
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Much to Emmanuel Macron's chagrin, President Donald Trump delivered some of his most bellicose remarks yet regarding the Iran deal during a brief press conference as the two world leaders prepared for a long-anticipated White House meeting on Tuesday.
Macron is hoping to convince the president to give the deal another chance by arguing in favor of the US staying in the deal in exchange for the various parties discussing a separate deal that would restrict Iran's ballistic missile tests.
But the press conference got off to an embarrassing start as Trump brushed what appeared to be dandruff off Macron's shoulder saying "we have to make him perfect."
Trump wipes off dandruff from Macron's shoulder: "We have to make him perfect." pic.twitter.com/acVeLaNFUs— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 24, 2018
Trump says he and Macron will be talking about Iran, terrorism, the Paris Accord and more https://t.co/B1Ku1Kglxb— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) April 24, 2018
But instead of approaching the talks with an open mind, Trump referred to the Iran deal as "insane and ridiculous" while reluctantly confirming that "we'll discuss it."
"We gave them $150 billion...we gave them $1.8 billion in cash, that's actual cash, barrels of cash, it's insane it's ridiculous it should've never been made."
Trump is referring to reports that the Obama administration strategically "unfroze" Iranian assets in the US to help entice the regime into making the deal.
Trump repeated his administration's line (fed to him by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) that Iran has a hand in all of the conflicts in the Middle East, and continues to finance terrorism across the world.
"No matter where you have it, Iran is behind it and now unfortunately Russia is getting more and more involved. But Iran seems to be behind everything. The Iran deal is a disaster. They're testing missiles - what is that all about? What kind of a deal is it where you're allowed to test missiles all over the place? What kind of a deal is it when you don't talk about Yemen and all the other problems? Look at what they're doing in Iraq. Virtually everywhere in the Middle East - if there's a problem, Iran is behind it."
He then blamed Barack Obama for being too lazy to discuss restricting Iran's ballistic missile program as part of the deal.
When asked by a reporter for a response to Iran's claim that it would swiftly restart its centrifuges if the US reimposes economic sanctions, Trump insisted that Iran wouldn't be restarting anything.
"You'll find out about that. They're not going to be restarting anything. If they restart their nuclear program, they're going to have bigger problems than they have ever had before..."
In addition to Iran, Trump affirmed that the two leaders would talk about the US rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. Trump is also expected to meet with German leader Angela Merkel at the White House later in the week, but his relationship with Merkel isn't nearly as strong as his relationship with Macron, with whom he bonded during a visit to Paris for France's Bastille Day parade.
- @EmmanuelMacron: “I want to thank President @Trump and your country, your people for this very warm welcome.”— AnalysisNyTimes (@analysisnytimes) April 24, 2018
- @POTUS: “The Iran deal is a terrible deal.” pic.twitter.com/agINuCFUzF @analysisnytimes
Macron made sure to emphasize their friendship during his opening remarks with reporters. Trump affirmed that the two have "a very special relationship" and that this "isn't fake news."
Earlier today, a senior Iranian official said the regime is considering walking away from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (which it joined in the early 1970s) if the US scraps the nuclear deal.