France’s President criticizes Trump over Paris remarks

The New York Times– The usually mild-mannered president of France pointedly reproached President Trump on Saturday after Mr. Trump commented on the dangers of terrorism in Paris, reminding the American leader of a cardinal rule in diplomacy: If you want to keep your friends, don’t criticize them in public.

“I think it’s never a good idea to show the least disapproval with respect to an ally,” said François Hollande, the French president, at the opening of an agriculture exposition in Paris. “I wouldn’t do that to an ally and I would ask that the American president not do that with regard to France.”

Mr. Hollande was responding to remarks Mr. Trump made on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in which he implied that Europe’s open borders had led to the terrorist attacks there.

Mr. Trump pinned his assertions on a friend named “Jim,” who he said had stopped going to Paris because “Paris is no longer Paris.” Mr. Trump said his friend had stopped traveling to the French capital four or five years ago, which was before the terrorist attacks there occurred.

“Take a look at what’s happening in Germany. Take a look at what’s happened in France. Take a look at Nice and Paris,” said Mr. Trump, who preceded these comments by saying: “We fully understand that national security begins with border security.”

Mr. Trump continued: “I have a friend, he’s a very, very substantial guy. He loves the City of Lights, he loves Paris. For years, every year during the summer, he would go to Paris, was automatic with his wife and his family. Hadn’t seen him in a while. And I said, ‘Jim, let me ask you a question: How’s Paris doing?’ ‘Paris? I don’t go there anymore. Paris is no longer Paris.’ That was four years — four or five years hasn’t gone there. He wouldn’t miss it for anything. Now he doesn’t even think in terms of going there.”

Mr. Hollande refrained from walking Mr. Trump through France’s tourism statistics.

Terrorist attacks in Paris struck the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015, as did the attacks in and around Paris that killed 130 people, including 90 at the Bataclan concert hall. The attack in Nice happened in 2016.

Paris recorded a small decline in visitors after the 2015 attacks. The city had a 1.1 percent drop in hotel arrivals that year.

That is less than the 1.4 percent drop in 2014. Paris experienced steady increases in tourism from 2010 to 2013, but those came after a 4.4 percent decline in 2009 amid the global financial crisis.

However, Mr. Trump is correct that terrorism has an impact on tourism. In 2016 data released earlier this week by the Paris regional tourism board, there was another drop in tourism, with 1.5 million fewer visitors, a 4.7 percent decrease from 2015.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, also addressed the remarks, noting on Twitter that so far this year, reservations from American tourists had increased 30 percent over 2016.