Sen. Marco Rubio Slams French President’s Call to ‘Break Away’ from U.S.: ‘Does Macron Speak for Europe?’

Joe Biden, president of US, walks with Emmanuel Macron, president of France. Political lea
Photo by Jonny Weeks for The Guardian / NMA pool (via AP)

Slamming recent comments by French President Emmanuel Macron, who appeared to advocate a distancing of Europe from the U.S., Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called to clarify whether other European nations stand by Macron’s position and to readjust our alliance in accordance.

In a roughly two-minute clip, Rubio began by citing Macron’s comments to reporters after visiting China, including his stance that Europe should “break away” from the U.S. and “not depend on the dollar,” as well as the need to avoid conflicts “that are not their[s]” such as the one over Taiwan.

It was the French president’s first trip to China in four years. 

Rubio, who serves as vice chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence and is a senior member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, also shared Politico’s interview with Macron that contained his full comments.

Calling it a “good moment for us to ask Europe [whether] Macron speak[s] for all of Europe,” Rubio questioned if the French president is now “the head of Europe” and “the most powerful leader in Europe.” 

“Because if he is, there’s some things we’re gonna need to change,” he stated.

Europe and “France specifically,” he noted, “has depended heavily on the United States for seventy years for their own defense.” 

“In fact, when Macron tried to play global superpower and sent troops to North Africa to fight terrorists, he couldn’t even get his own troops there,” Rubio said. “We had to fly them there and we had to fly them back; he couldn’t even get his own troops there.”

“So if they’re gonna break off on their own and follow Macron’s lead, that’s going to save us a lot of money,” he added.

Regarding the French leader’s remarks on Europe’s involvement in “conflicts that are not ours,” Rubio expressed the need to “ask Europe, does he speak for them?” 

“We’re pretty heavily involved in Ukraine right now [and] we’re spending a lot of our taxpayer money on a European war, and I supported that because I think it’s in the national interests of the United States to be allies to our allies,” he said.

However, he warned, “if, in fact, Macron speaks for all of Europe, and their position now is they’re not gonna pick sides between the U.S. and China over Taiwan; maybe we shouldn’t be picking sides either.” 

“Maybe we should basically say we’re gonna focus on Taiwan and the threats China poses, and you guys handle Ukraine and Europe,” he said.

“So we need to find out, does Macron speak for Macron or does Macron speak for Europe?” he added. “And we need to get the answer to that pretty quickly because China is very excited about what he said.”

Though China “enthusiastically support[s] everything he said,” Rubio claimed that Macron had apparently “said even worse.”

“But the French presidency insisted that all the reporters that got that interview, they wanted to review the transcript and they apparently took out stuff that was even more aggressive that he said,” he said.

“So we need to find out where Europe stands,” he concluded.

The remarks follow an interview published Sunday which quoted Macron as saying Europe must not be a “follower” of either the U.S. or China on Taiwan in order to avoid “crises that aren’t ours.”

“The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must be followers and adapt ourselves to the American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction,” he told the media as he returned from a three-day state visit Friday.

In response, terrorism and national security researcher and analyst Kyle Orton accused Macron of having “really outdone himself with this grovelling to China.”

The matter comes after Chinese fighter jets and warships have simulated strikes on Taiwan as part of a three-day operation after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.

China claims democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be taken one day, by force if necessary.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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