French President Emmanuel Macron has hit back at his US counterpart Donald Trump’s recent Twitter attacks, saying France is an ally of the US, not its vassal state.
"What I want you to understand is simply that 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 on Wednesday.
"Between allies, we owe respect to each other, and so I don't want to hear the rest of it. I think what the French people expect of me is not to respond to tweets, but instead to commit on continuing this important history,” he said in a televised interview aboard the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in Toulon, southern France.
"I think he's playing American politics, and I let him play American politics. I am not in charge of that, and I think that is not what is expected of me by our fellow citizens," he went on to say.
Macron’s comments came after Trump unleashed what seemed like a personal grudge against the French president over his recent call to establish a “real, European army” to provide “protection from China, Russia, and even from the United States of America.”
The US president said on Tuesday it was America that came to the rescue of France during World War II.
“How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along,” he tweeted.
Macron on Wednesday once again highlighted the significance of his call for establishing a European army, saying that Europe should not depend on the US for its security.
“To not be a vassal state, we should not depend on them, especially on Americans. We have to strive more, we have to work more ourselves as French and European citizens," he noted.
Trump had earlier described Macron’s call for a European army “very insulting.”
Under President Macron, France has embraced a more Europe-centered approach and has closely partnered with Germany — another champion of the European cause.
In his Tuesday tweets, the American president said it was Germany that had posed a threat to France in the two world wars.
“Emmanuel 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,” he wrote.
On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated Macron’s call for a European Army word for word.
“The times when we could rely on others are over. This means we Europeans have to take our fate fully into our own hands,” She said. “We should work on a vision of one day establishing a real, European army.”