Europeans, he said, can not protect themselves without a "true European army". Early on, Macron tried to position himself as a sort of "Trump whisperer" and Trump returned the favor, hosting Macron at the first and only state dinner of his presidency. "I want to help people around the world, but we have to take care of our country, or we won't have a country".
"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States", he told Europe 1 broadcaster, suggesting for the first time that Europe might need to defend itself from America.
"President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russian Federation", the US president tweeted late Friday, referring to remarks made by Macron three days earlier.
Many news organisations, including AFP, quoted from the following remarks from Macron during his interview with Europe 1 radio on Tuesday.
The US leader and his wife Melania are on their second visit to Paris since July 2017 when Trump was Macron's guest of honour at Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.
The French president, who tried but failed earlier this year to talk Trump out of withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, has also voiced worries about the impact of sanctions on European companies doing business with Iran.
The two leaders are expected to discuss European concerns about Trump's plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and renewal of United States sanctions against Iran. "I've seen what they have planned, and I think it's going to be something very, very special", he said.
In addition to his meetings with Macron, Trump is expected to visit the Belleau Wood battlefield and American cemetery on Saturday, and speak at a Veterans Day ceremony Sunday at the Suresnes American Cemetery. Europe, he said in Tuesday's Europe 1 radio interview, must reduce its dependence on USA after Trump announced he was pulling out of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty.
An official in Macron's office said Saturday that Macron didn't say that.
"Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?" he asked.
FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference after a summit of heads of state and government at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 12, 2018.