Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

When French President Emmanuel Macron visited Washington, he and President Trump had a tough conversation about trade that foreshadowed the breakdown of transatlantic relations at the G7 summit.

What happened: In their bilateral meeting in the White House's Cabinet Room, on April 24, Macron said to Trump, "Let’s work together, we both have a China problem," according to a source in the room. The source said Trump responded that the European Union is "worse than China."

  • "He then went on a rant about Germany and cars," the source added. (In their private meetings Trump has taken Angela Merkel to task for her country's tariffs on U.S. automobiles and the ease with which German carmakers like Mercedes, Volkswagen and BMW can sell into the U.S. market.)
  • Trump also says that America has a fairly balanced trading relationship with France but that the U.S-European trading relationship is very unfair.

I asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who was also in the Cabinet Room for this Trump-Macron meeting, about this exchange. She told me: "The broader point of the conversation was them wanting to work together to do something to fix the system."

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