PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron’s warm embrace of the American president, replete with hand-holding, hugs and dandruff dusting, has come back to haunt the young French leader and open him to searing criticism from political opponents at home.
The lavish show of friendship with an American president who is deeply unpopular in France has cost Mr. Macron, whose support was already wobbling over perceptions that his policies have favored the rich. Mr. Macron’s unrequited pleas for policy shifts from Mr. Trump are perceived as failures, and more than half of those surveyed in a poll last weekend disapproved of his gushy performance, for which he got nothing in return.
The price to Mr. Macron’s standing has now been compounded by Mr. Trump’s decision last week to withdraw from the Iran accord, after Mr. Macron went to Washington last month, in part to try to persuade the American president to preserve it.
France “prostituted itself” and “humiliated itself in its relations with the U.S.,” Daniel Fasquelle, a member of Parliament from a center-right party in the opposition, told reporters in the halls of the Assemblée Nationale last week in the wake of Mr. Trump’s decision on Iran.
Another lawmaker, Clémentine Autain, on the left, told the journalists, “France favors a partner which happens to be a dangerous partner for world peace.”
“France should bang its fist on the table,” she said, “rather than go courting Donald Trump.”
Mr. Macron’s enthusiastic outreach to Mr. Trump is being contrasted unfavorably with the far cooler approach of other European leaders, like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, and his predecessors in the French presidency, who kept the Americans at arm’s length.
In addition to striking out on the Iran nuclear deal, Mr. Macron previously got nothing from Mr. Trump on climate change, and he has yet to win permanent exemptions on steel tariffs. As far as many French are concerned, he is zero for three.
“Macron’s alignment with Trump is a catastrophe,” said Patrick Cassan, a civil servant interviewed in the mixed-income 19th Arrondissement of Paris. Mr. Macron was “not only incapable of saying no” to Mr. Trump, he “served as his dishrag,” he said.
Others were equally disapproving of all the hugging and backslapping. “These gestures were like signs of vassalage,” with Mr. Macron playing the part of the serf, said J. C. Icart, a retired writer for scientific journals, interviewed outside the arrondissement’s City Hall. “In the feudal system, you showed your