The mayor of Paris has criticised comments made by Donald Trump about the French capital and immigration policies in Europe, suggesting the US president should focus on issues closer to home.
In a bombastic address to a conservative rally outside Washington on Friday, Trump criticised longtime US allies France, Sweden and Germany, and defended his crackdown on immigrants.
Singling out the French capital, which has been the target of terrorist attacks by Islamic militants in recent years, he quoted a friend “Jim”, who he claimed refuses to visit the city, saying “Paris is no longer Paris”.
The city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, responded by tweeting a photo of Mickey and Minnie Mouse at the Eiffel Tower, writing: “To @realDonaldTrump and his friend Jim, in @LaTourEiffel we celebrate the dynamism and the spirit of openness of #Paris with Mickey & Minnie.”
In subsequent tweets she pointed to an increase in American tourist figures.
“They are unfriendly comments,” Hidalgo said on Monday during a visit to Tokyo. “As the president of France said, this is not something big countries say to each other.
“No one points out that a lot of crime in big US cities linked to the open sale of guns is a plague that takes many lives.”
The French president, François Hollande, also mocked Trump by inviting him to Disneyland Paris.
Fears linked to terrorist attacks in France have deterred visitors in the past two years. In November 2015, 130 people were killed in Paris when gunmen and suicide bombers from Islamic State attacked bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France.
Hidalgo paid tribute to the strength of the French capital in standing up to terrorism. “There is a risk of terrorism in all major cities,” said Hidalgo, whose city is bidding to host the 2024 Olympics. “But Paris is doing well; Paris is a resilient city.”That attack came 10 months after two jihadi gunmen shot dead cartoonists and journalists at the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Hidalgo was in Japan to drum up tourism and inspect Tokyo 2020 Olympic sites. “Japanese tourists are coming back again. There has been a very substantial increase in booking numbers – up 80% in the first two months of this year compared to last year. That is very good news,” she said.
The 2024 hosts will be decided by an International Olympic Committee vote in Lima in September.