President Trump crowed over violent protests in Paris on Saturday, saying they prove he was right to withdraw the US from the global pact to fight climate change.
“The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning, as a day of violence and arrests unfolded.
“Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting ‘We Want Trump!’ Love France.”
About 130 people were injured and authorities made 1,000 arrests on the fourth straight weekend of anti-government protests in Paris.
The movement started out in opposition to a gas tax hike, which was in fact aimed at curbing greenhouse-gas emissions as part of the Paris Agreement.
French President Emannuel Macron suspended the hike last week, but protesters have continued to criticize the government, saying Macron only cares about the rich.
As for Trump’s claim that protesters have chanted, “We want Trump,” French news wire Agence France-Presse and leading French daily Le Monde said their reporters found no evidence to support that.
Paris was on lockdown Saturday, with armored trucks and the hiss of tear gas filling central Paris. A ring of steel surrounded the president’s Elysée Palace, while many shops were closed during what’s usually a busy holiday shopping season.
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Police and protesters also clashed in other French cities including Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux, and in neighboring Belgium.
As the chaos continued, Trump doubled down on his morning missive.
“Very sad day & night in Paris,” he tweeted. “Maybe it’s time to end the ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement and return money back to the people in the form of lower taxes?”
Trump’s comments appearing to sympathize with dangerous protesters in a friendly country went against longstanding precedent for US presidents.
“His comments about the French protests are completely out of character typically for a sitting US president,” said Michael Geary of the Wilson Institute’s Global Europe Program. “He has said nothing about his hopes for a return to calm.”