French president Emmanuel Macron has claimed that he convinced Donald Trump to keep troops in Syria for the long term and limit Saturday’s joint strikes to chemical weapons facilities.
Macron said in an interview on Sunday that restricting the missile strikes to specific targets was not necessarily Trump’s initial plan. “We also persuaded him that we needed to limit the strikes to chemical weapons [sites], after things got a little carried away over tweets,” he said.
The French president also said: “Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria’. We convinced him it was necessary to stay. We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”
While it is unusual for a French president to present himself as driving US policy on military matters in the Middle East, Macron and Trump have developed a friendly relationship over the past year. Macron invited Trump to Bastille day celebrations last year and will travel to Washington on a state visit this month.