President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron held a tense meeting Tuesday on the sidelines of a NATO summit, with Trump at one point offering to release detained members of the self-declared Islamic State into France.
“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you,” Trump said with a slight smile at the meeting.
“You can take everyone you want,” he added.
“Let’s be serious,” Macron replied sternly, pointing out that Syria and Iraq bear the lion’s share of the burden.
“It is true that you have foreign fighters coming from Europe, but this is a tiny minority of the overall problem we have in the region,” he added.
Macron also stressed that terrorism remains a top threat despite Trump’s repeated false claims of having defeated ISIS in Syria, an assertion he used in justifying his decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria in October.
“It’s not done,” Macron said Tuesday of the battle against terror. “I’m sorry to say that. Yes, you still have fighters in this region, in Syria and now in Iraq, and more and more.”
Trump has complained that European countries have been unwilling to accept ISIS fighters the U.S. had captured.
“I think [the] No. 1 priority, because it’s not finished, is it to get rid of ISIS,” Macron said.
President Trump and President Macron trade barbs over handling of foreign ISIS fighters:
“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you. You can take every one you want.” pic.twitter.com/n7ICITIozD
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 3, 2019
“That was one of the greatest nonanswers I ever heard,” Trump said after Macron had concluded. “And that’s OK.”