Emmanuel Macron said he was the brains behind Trump’s airstrike on Syria — and convinced him to commit for the long term

  • French President Emmanuel Macron claimed credit for key elements of US policy on Syria.
  • He said the plan to limit recent airstrikes to chemical weapons facilities were his.
  • He also told French TV that he persuaded Trump not to pull US troops out of Syria.
  • Macron and Trump have made much of their close personal relationship.
  • Nonetheless, Trump is claiming the Syria strike as his personal success, and the White House rejected claims of a Macron-inspired U-turn.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that he was the mastermind behind Donald Trump’s airstrike on Syria, and has persuaded him to station troops in the country for the long term.

In a major interview broadcast Sunday night on BFMTV, Macron took the credit for the strike in Syria, which Trump has characterised as a personal success.

Macron said he thrashed out a list of targets with Trump, and persuaded him to limit action to chemical weapons facilities, rather than a broader strike on Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

He also claimed to have convinced Trump to ditch an idea to pull troops out of Syria, and instead commit to staying.

Emmanuel Macron during a rare interview on French TV, broadcast April 15, 2018.

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Emmanuel Macron during a rare interview on French TV, broadcast April 15, 2018.
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Reuters

Macron told the cameras:

“Ten days ago President Trump said the US wanted to disengage in Syria. We convinced him, we convinced him that it was necessary to stay there.

“I think that on the diplomatic plan there that took place, the three strikes were one element that was for me not the most essential, I reassure you, we convinced him that he had to stay there for the long term.

“The second thing that we were successful in convincing him was to limit the strikes on chemical weapon [sites] after things got carried away over tweets.”

Here’s a video of his comment (in French):

Macron and Trump have made much of their close personal relationship, which Business Insider has previously characterised as a bromance.

The French leader invited his US counterpart to Paris last summer to celebrate Bastille Day, where Trump witnessed a grand military parade that inspired plans to do something similar in Washington, D.C.

In return, Macron is the first world leader whom Trump has invited to make a full state visit.

Trump has not responded directly to Macron’s claims. However, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders seemed to downplay Macron’s influence, and said “the US mission has not changed.”