France a ‘historic’ ally of US, not a vassal state, says Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview on Wednesday two long-time allies like France and America should treat each other with respect, after US President Donald Trump attacked him on Twitter.

Christophe Simon, Reuters | French President Emmanuel Macron visits the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier on November 14, 2018.

In five posts sent on Tuesday after his visit to France, Trump had blasted the key US ally over its near defeat to Germany in two world wars, its wine industry and Macron's approval ratings.

"At every moment of our history, we were allies, so between allies, respect is due," Macron responded on Wednesday, citing French support for America's war of independence and US support during the two world wars.

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

Trump was only playing to a domestic audience, the French president added, playing down the comments by his US counterpart.

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

Asked about his suggestion to build an European army, which Trump criticised in tweets last week, Macron restated his call for greater “autonomy” in the defence capabilities of France and Europe.

"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," Macron said.


Trump posted the controversial tweets after returning to Washington from a weekend in Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One where his strained relations with European allies was on full display.

The US president rejected Macron's warnings against the threat of nationalism, made during an emotional ceremony in the French capital on Sunday attended by scores of world leaders.

Trump, who has promoted an "America First" policy, pointed to Macron's recent comments about Europe's need to protect itself, tweeting "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 US came along. Pay for NATO or not!"

Asked about Trump’s tweets on Wednesday, French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux suggested the US president had been insensitive.

"Yesterday was November 13, we were marking the murder of 130 of our people," Griveaux said. "So I'll reply in English: 'common decency' would have been appropriate."


Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 app