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Macron on Trump: 'I take the leaders that people give me'

U.S. President Trump meets France's President Macron, ahead of the NATO summit, in London

By John Irish

PARIS (Reuters) -French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that he would deal with whoever wins the U.S. election, a day after former president Donald Trump secured a resounding victory in the first 2024 Republican presidential contest in Iowa.

Trump, who faces a battery of federal and state criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, is leading the field of Republican presidential candidates for the November 2024 ballot.

"I've always had the same philosophy, I take the leaders that people give me," Macron said during a news conference.

Macron had an up and down relationship with Trump over the four years they were in power at the same time.

He initially adopted a more conciliatory tone with Trump, whom he called a" friend" and even invited him to dine at the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day.

But as the years passed, policy decisions on climate, taxation and Iran in particular caused friction between the former president and his European allies.

Macron once even said his phone calls with Trump and other world leaders were just like sausages: better not explain what's inside.

"The United States is an important ally... It's a democracy that's going through a crisis in which it itself is the first priority and the second priority is China's power. All of us Europeans need to be lucid about that," Macron said.

(Reporting by John Irish, Leigh Thomas and Tassilo HummelEditing by Chris Reese and Ingrid Melander)