- Associated Press - Friday, February 24, 2017

PARIS (AP) - Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, France’s foreign minister and an American cinema luminary pushed back at U.S. President Donald Trump for insulting the City of Light on Friday in a speech.

Trump evoked his friend Jim, “a very, very substantial guy,” in an address at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Jim used to be a regular visitor to Paris, Trump said, but hasn’t made the trip in four or five years because “Paris is no longer Paris.”

Hidalgo tweeted a photo of herself alongside Mickey Mouse and Minnie and said: “To @readDonaldTrump and his friend Jim, in @LaTour Effel we celebrate the dynamism and spirit of openness of Paris with Mickey and Minnie.”

In another tweet, with the hashtag #Donald&Jim;, Hidalgo said American tourist reservations are up 30 percent in 2017 so far compared to last year.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault offered his own proof that Americans like not just Paris but all of France: “3.5 million Americans visited France in 2016,” he tweeted. “They will always be welcome.”

George Clooney used the red carpet to speak up for Paris as he headed into the awards ceremony for this year’s Cesar, the French version of the Oscar, where he received a “Cesar d’honneur” for his work.

“Yes, no one wants to go to Paris anymore because it’s horrible here, apparently,” he said as he entered the theater. “We have some things to work on in the United States,” he said, without ever naming Trump. In a veiled illusion to France far-right presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, Clooney added, “I think you guys have some of the same issues here so … good luck.”

Trump hammered France in his speech.

“Take a look at what’s happened in France. Take a look at Nice and Paris,” the president said in an apparent reference to last year’s Bastille Day attack in Nice and the 2015 Paris attacks.

He said Jim used to visit Paris each summer. “It was automatic … He wouldn’t miss it for anything.”

“Now he doesn’t even think in terms of going there. Take a look at what’s happening to our world folks and we have to be smart. We have to be smart. We can’t let it happen to us,” Trump said.

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