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.

RELATED: A look at the missile strike on Syria

8 PHOTOS
US Navy's Tomahawk missiles fired at Syria in response to chemical attack
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US Navy's Tomahawk missiles fired at Syria in response to chemical attack
The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 14, 2018. U.S. Navy/Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 14, 2018. U.S. Navy/Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 14, 2018. U.S. Navy/Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
U.S. FIFTH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS - APRIL 14: In this handout released by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) fires a Tomahawk land attack missile at Syria as part of an allied strike April 14, 2018. Monterey is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region. President Donald Trump has ordered a joint force strike on Syria with Britain and France over the recent suspected chemical attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.(Photo by Matthew Daniels/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey is lit as it fires Tomahawk land attack missiles in this still image from Pentagon's video released on April 14, 2018. U.S. Navy Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Smoke rises as the U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires Tomahawk land attack missiles in this still image from Pentagon's video released on April 14, 2018. U.S. Navy Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile April 14, 2018. U.S. Navy/Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Smoke trails a missile as the U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires Tomahawk land attack missiles in this still image from Pentagon's video released on April 14, 2018. U.S. Navy Lt. j.g Matthew Daniels/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
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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."

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."

RELATED: Trump and Macron together

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President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron
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President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump greets French President Emmanuel Macron before a lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and France's President Emmanuel Macron shake hands before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump jokes with French President Emmanuel Macron about their handshakes in front of NATO leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (2ndR) and Belgium King Philippe (L), at the start of the NATO summit at their new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A combination photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L) trying twice to let go of a handshake with France's President Emmanuel Macron (R) as Macron holds tight, before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) meets French President Emmanuel Macron before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool
US President Donald Trump (R) talks with French President Emmanuel Macron as they attend the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 in Taormina, Sicily. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) meets French President Emmanuel Macron before a working lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool
US President Donald Trump (L) and US First Lady Melania Trump (C) speak with French President Emmanuel Macron (R) as they arrive for a concert of the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra during the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 at the ancient Greek Theater in Taormina, Sicily. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / PHILIPPE WOJAZER (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump attend the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 in Taormina, Sicily. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump meets French President Emmanuel Macron in New York, U.S., September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump meets French President Emmanuel Macron in New York, U.S., September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump as First Lady Melania Trump looks on after the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump speak with French army general Bruno Le Ray, military governor of Paris, at the end of the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump attend the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 14: U.S President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron during the traditional Bastille day military parade on the Champs-Elysees on July 14, 2017 in Paris France. Bastille Day, the French National day commemorates this year the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States of America into World War I (Photo by Antoine Gyori/Corbis via Getty Images)
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