At CPAC on Friday, President Donald Trump said Islamic radicals had changed Paris to the point of unrecognizability.
“Take a look at Nice and Paris,” Trump said, referring to the devastating terrorist attacks that have taken the lives of hundreds of innocent people in recent years. “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. It was automatic, with him and his family.”
Trump said that times had changed, unfortunately.
“I hadn’t seen him in a while and I said, ‘Jim, let me ask you a question: How’s Paris doing?'” Trump said.
Jim replied: “Paris? I don’t go there anymore. Paris is no longer Paris.”
Perhaps inevitably, French President Francois Hollande felt compelled to defend the crown jewel of his country at the Paris Agric Fair this weekend. “There is terrorism and we must fight it together,” he said. “I think that it is never good to show the smallest defiance toward an allied country. I wouldn’t do it with the United States, and I’m urging the U.S. president not to do it with France.”
Oh really? Is that your firm, no-questions-asked position on the matter, Mr. Hollande? Apparently not, since you broke your own rule only seconds later.
“I won’t make comparisons, but here, people don’t have access to guns,” he said. “Here, you don’t have people with guns opening fire on the crowd simply for the satisfaction of causing drama and tragedy.”
The families of those killed in the November 2015 concert attack must be scratching their heads about that one.
In one respect, we do see Hollande’s point; Americans would be rightly irritated if Hollande was bashing New York City as a haven for terrorists or an unsafe vacation spot, even if there were some truth to it.
On the other hand, Trump wasn’t running down Paris for the sake of making the U.S. look better. He was using what’s happened there as a warning about what could easily happen here. He’s bringing the spotlight back, again and again, to the subject of Islamic terrorism and the horrors it has visited upon the West. Unlike his predecessor, he knows we cannot defeat this enemy if we pretend it doesn’t exist. We can’t root it out with political correctness. We can’t erase it by lying about it. We have to acknowledge it, name it, and confront it.
If other leaders find that approach threatening, then we have to wonder what it is they’re trying to protect.