Trump says Paris attack will influence France’s election

Donald Trump, Paolo Gentiloni
President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands as he meets with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, left, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is taking the unusual step of weighing in publicly ahead of a foreign presidential election, predicting that the latest attack in Paris will have a “big effect” on voters there.

His tweet Friday comes as he tries to bolster U.S. support for hard-line proposals on immigration and foreign policy. Trump’s administration is demanding that Congress fund a bigger U.S. border wall with Mexico and is suggesting that his administration could scrap the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran.

“Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on the presidential election!” he tweeted.

On Thursday, an attacker in Paris used an automatic weapon to shoot officers in the center of the Champs-Elysees. One officer was killed as was the gunman. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The outcome of France’s presidential election is being closely watched for signs that Europe is moving toward nationalist candidates who advocate the European Union’s dissolution. The top two candidates from Sunday’s vote in Paris will progress to a winner-takes-all May 7 runoff.

Trump was a supporter of the British decision to exit the European Union and has stated his preference for one-on-one trade and defense agreements with U.S. allies.

This week, Trump met with Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni. At a joint news conference on Thursday, he said Iran was failing to fulfill the “spirit” of its nuclear deal with world powers and that the 2015 agreement shouldn’t have been signed.

He pointedly stopped sort of telegraphing whether or not the U.S. would stay in.

“They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that,” Trump said of the Iranians on Thursday, though he did not mention any specific violations. The administration has certified to Congress that Iran was complying — at least technically — with the terms of the deal, clearing the way for Iran to continue enjoying sanctions relief in the near term.

He also said the U.S. is committed to a strong Europe but didn’t say directly whether he prefers that the European Union stay intact.

Trump’s wrangling on foreign policy issues abroad comes amid debate in the U.S. over his priorities at home. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said money for Trump’s border wall must be part of the legislation, along with funds to hire more immigration agents.

Trump is approaching his 100th day in office, a benchmark often cited to measure a new administration’s achievements. On Friday, he declared the benchmark as a “ridiculous standard.”

He tweeted, “No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!”

His statement ran counter to his statement earlier this week that “no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.”

Since taking office, Trump has managed to get a Supreme Court justice confirmed and is pursuing tougher regulations on immigration. But his health care bill didn’t come up for a vote in the House and his travel ban was blocked in the courts.

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