PARIS—There was the moment French President Emmanuel Macron greeted President Trump with a kiss on both cheeks, French-style, prompting a Fox News commentator to explain that in France, that kind of thing is normal, even for men. There was the moment Trump pretended to brush dandruff off Macron’s shoulder during an Oval Office photo shoot. There was the unforgettable, amused, I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening look on Macron’s face when Trump said the Iran deal was terrible, end of story. There was the press conference where Trump, in television-game-show-host mode, said he might withdraw from the Iran deal, or might not and instead offer “a very large deal, maybe deal, maybe not,” and anyway stay tuned for his May 12 decision deadline. There was the weird photo of the two presidential couples planting a tree, and Melania Trump’s white, wide-brimmed hat.
And then there was the rousing, full-throated yet cool-headed speech Macron delivered Wednesday before a joint session of the United States Congress. During some 50 minutes interrupted by multiple standing ovations, he offered the most direct, sustained, here’s-what-you’re-getting-yourself-into takedowns of Trump’s worldview yet delivered on Planet Earth by the leader of an allied country. Not Planet B. Because, as Macron said in the speech, “let us face it, there is no Planet B.” This was a direct challenge to Trump’s pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, just as other parts of the speech directly challenged Trump’s threats to abandon the Iran nuclear deal. The speech was also a call in favor of democracy, freedom, cultural exchange, medicine, and science, and against fear-mongering, protectionism, unilateralism, and misinformation.