the art of diplomacy

Emmanuel Macron Does Not Want to Discuss Trump’s Sausage

Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump have had a tumultuous relationship. They’ve planted trees together, and absolutely love touching each other, but there have been some bad times too. Trump once called out Macron’s “dandruff,” and according to CNN, the two presidents’ phone call about trade and migration last week was “terrible.” Macron doesn’t want to talk about all of that though, which he explained to reporters with an oft-misattributed quote.

At a press conference with Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Macron was asked about reports that he told Trump the president’s decision to place tariffs on the exports of U.S. allies was “illegal” and a “mistake.” Macron replied:

“As Bismarck used to say, if we explained to people how sausages were made, it’s unlikely they’d keep eating them. So I like it when people see the finished meal, but I’m not convinced the kitchen commentary helps with delivering the meal or eating it.”

First of all, we all know Trump is a burger man. Secondly, Bismarck probably didn’t say that thing about sausages. Although the 19th century Prussian statesman is often credited with variants of the quote “laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made,” the New York Times pointed out that people didn’t start citing him as its source until the 1930s. (The first instance of it actually appeared in an article in The Daily Cleveland Herald on March 29, 1869, which quoted the lawyer and poet John Godfrey Saxe as saying that “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.”)

The French president added that he and Trump would have a “frank” exchange at the G-7 summit in Canada later this week, which leads me to conclude that perhaps Macron was just craving hot dogs that day.

Emmanuel Macron Does Not Want to Discuss Trump’s Sausage