What started as a pre-planned five-minute press briefing on Tuesday morning with the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the U.S. ambassador's residence in London became a 52-minute question and answer session.
As prime ministers and presidents of the 29-member alliance converged on London for a summit marking NATO's 70th birthday, Trump told reporters Macron's comments were "very nasty" when he lamented the "brain death" of the organization due in large part to a lack of US leadership.
Despite the current strains, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenber insisted that NATO was "the most successful alliance in history", telling CNN ahead of the gathering that the allies "have been able to change again and again when the world is changing".
Stoltenberg, given the unenviable task of trying to hold NATO together as its leaders take pot shots at each other, said that "we're doing more together, North America and Europe, than we have done in many decades".
The political and military alliance now has 29 member countries. London was chosen partly because it was the location of the original headquarters of the organisation when it was founded. And on Friday Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, furious at Western criticism of his military operation in northern Syria against the Kurds, hit back with a personal attack on Macron. For the third summit in a row, Donald Trump is expected to renew demands that European allies and Canada step up defence spending.
Lashing out at Paris for a digital service tax that he said unfairly discriminates against USA tech companies - including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon - Trump repeated announcements that taxes are set to rise on French products, including cheese, wine and other products, as a measure of new to-be-introduced trade tariffs. He insists that strategic questions must be addressed, like improving ties with Russian Federation and how to handle an unpredictable ally like Turkey.
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But Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson will still be nervous that Trump's presence will hurt him in the closing stages of the British election campaign.
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Trump's tough talk on France came just a day after the United States threatened new tariffs of up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion in French products, including wine, cheese and yogurt - a response, Trump's chief trade negotiator said, to a French digital services tax that the United States concluded is discriminating against American Internet companies.
Reiterated his call for European partners to increase defense spending - calling out Germany in particular for falling short.
The controversial USA leader's visit to London comes just nine days before the United Kingdom general election - leaving British politicians holding their breath to see what he says.