French President Emmanuel Macron advocated for a stronger and more united Europe during his address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — but on multiple occasions, he had the entire room of political and business leaders from around the world laughing at President Donald Trump.
Macron received a standing ovation after his 90-minute speech on Wednesday, during which he pressed for Europe to stand as a cornerstone of globalization and fairness, and for the world to “act in a multilateral way” as it faces stand-offs with North Korea and Iran.
But he kicked things off with a joke about Trump without mentioning the U.S. president — who will speak at the forum on Friday — by name.
Macron noted the irony in inviting the world’s business and political elite to a forum on globalization in a place “almost cut off from the rest of the world by” several feet of snow.
“Arriving in this building, it could be hard to believe in global warming,” Macron said. “Obviously and fortunately, you didn’t invite anybody skeptical with global warming this year.”
The audience roared with laughter.
— Reuters Davos (@Reuters_Davos) January 24, 2018
But Macron wasn’t done.
Macron said that globalization was suffering a “major crisis,” and noted ultra-nationalist movements spreading across the U.S., UK, France and Germany. He said these movements would dampen cooperation between the countries on matters like education, taxes and the environment.
Borrowing from the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, Macron urged the audience to invest and share more so as to “make our planet great again.”
The audience again laughed.
Macron enjoys a strange relationship with Trump, having publicly criticized many of Trump’s policies — like the decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord or the Iran nuclear deal — but said they talk regularly and share a “very direct relationship.” Both leaders and their wives once dined at the Eiffel Tower and the White House confirmed on Wednesday that Macron would be a guest of honor at Trump’s first state dinner.