Liz Truss tones down her rhetoric on Emmanuel Macron following 'friend or foe' comment

Liz Truss appeared to backtrack on comments that the “jury is out” on whether France’s President Emmanuel Macron is a friend of a foe.

Comments made by Ms Truss earlier in the campaign saying the “jury is out” on whether France’s President Emmanuel Macron is a friend or a foe at a previous hustings event in Norwich puzzled leaders across Europe.

The Foreign Secretary caused a stir for the remarks but appeared to tone down her rhetoric in the final event.

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Asked by LBC’s Nick Ferrari if former US president Donald Trump was “friend or foe”, Ms Truss took a long pause before saying: “I am not going to comment on future potential presidential runners.

Liz Truss during a hustings event at Wembley Arena, London, as part of the campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2022.
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“We have to work with who is in the White House. The United States is our closest ally. I have met both President Trump when he was in office and President Biden now he is in office.

“My priority is working to promote freedom and democracy around the world, to work with our American allies against what are some very severe threats we are facing including an assertive China, a belligerent Russia.”

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She added: “Both the United States and France are freedom-loving democracies and I will work with both of them, whoever the leader is.”

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Pressed about whether China’s President Xi Jinping was a foe, Ms Truss said: “I am not going to use the word foe, but what I will say is am concerned about China’s assertiveness.”

Following the comments made the leadership candidate, Macron suggested it is a “problem” if Britain cannot call itself a friend of France, saying: “

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“Listen, it’s never good to lose your bearings too much in life. If one asks the question – which is how I will answer you – whoever is considered for the leadership in Great Britain, I won’t ponder it for a single second.

“The United Kingdom is a friend of France, and you know we live in a complicated world, there are more and more liberals, authoritarian democracies, so there is a sense of imbalance.

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“If the French and British are not capable of saying whether we are friends or enemies – the term is not neutral – we are going to have a problem."