Macron brushes off Trump attacks: US alliance deserves 'respect'

While Macron said France shares an important relationship with the US, it is not Washington's subject.

    Macron said Trump was playing to a domestic audience with his harsh tweets [Philippe Wojazer/Pool/Reuters]
    Macron said Trump was playing to a domestic audience with his harsh tweets [Philippe Wojazer/Pool/Reuters]

    President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday two long-time allies like France and the US should treat each other with respect and that France was Washington's ally, but not a vassal state.

    The French president's remarks came after US President Donald Trump attacked Macron and France over its near defeat to Germany in two world wars, its wine industry and Macron's approval ratings.

    Trump's blows came in five tweets posted on Tuesday after his visit to France for the centenary of the end of World War I, during which Macron pushed his proposals for an EU army and said France has to protect itself with "respect to China, Russia and even the United States".

    Trump tweeted on Tuesday that Macron "suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!"

    Trump implied Macron made the comments to distract from his low approval rating, which sits at 29 percent, according to an French Institute of Public Opinion poll released in late September.

    The US president's approval rating is not far ahead. Trump's weekly average approval rating from November 5 to 11 sat at 38 percent, with a term average of 39 percent, according to Gallup.

    Macron opted not to respond to Trump's Twitter challenges.

    "I don't think the French expect me to respond to tweets," he told TF1 in an interview on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

    Trump was only playing to a domestic audience, Macron said.

    "I think he's playing politics, and I let him play politics."

    The French leader pointed to historic support between the two countries. France played an important role in the US War of Independence and the US supported France during two world wars.  

    "At every moment of our history, we were allies, so between allies, respect is due," Macron said

    Asked about his suggestion to build a European army, Macron said: "The United States [is] our historic ally and will continue to be. It's the ally with which we take all the risks, with which we carry out the most complicated operations.

    "But being an ally doesn't mean being a vassal state". 

    France: Bollore and the media

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    France: Bollore and the media

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies