Biden meets with France’s Macron, admits ‘clumsy’ rollout of US-UK-Australia deal

Some on the right have speculated that President Joe Biden, at 78 years of age, isn’t actually the one in charge of his own administration. And new comments from the president himself aren’t exactly helping his case.

During a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Biden acknowledged a “clumsy” move he made in September that resulted in a diplomatic dustup with the European nation, blaming it all on his staffers and saying he’d been kept out of the loop with regard to the potential fallout.

Biden angers France

Biden was referencing the mid-September announcement of a new tripartite alliance in the Pacific region known as AUKUS, which includes Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The alliance comes as part of a bid to contain communist China’s aggressive expansion in the region.

But while it may have sounded good on the surface, the deal enraged the French — and justifiably so, as they had kept in the dark about the new arrangement until it was publicly announced, according to New York Magazine‘s Intelligencer.

Aside from being excluded from the deal in the Indo-Pacific region — where France has long played a substantial role since even before the Colonial era — the European nation was also infuriated by a key provision in the deal for the U.S. and U.K. to provide nuclear-powered submarine technology to Australia.

French officials said the move undermined and effectively nullified a pre-existing $66 billion deal for France to provide diesel-powered submarines to Australia.

The situation reached historic heights when France, for the first time ever, pulled its ambassador out of Washington until after Biden called Macron to smooth things over.

“Clumsy” policy move

Fast-forward a month and a half, and President Biden met with Macron for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summitt in Rome, Italy, on Friday. There, Biden was asked by a reporter, “Is the relationship repaired?”

“You’re asking me?” Biden replied. “Well, the answer is: I think — what happened was — to use an English phrase, what we did was ‘clumsy.’ It was not done with a lot of grace. I was under the impression certain things had happened that hadn’t happened.”

Pressed to explain, Biden clarified: “I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not going through. I, honest to God, did not know you had not been.” He also called France “an extremely, extremely valued partner — extremely — and a power in and of itself.”

“Look, there’s too much we have done together, suffered together, celebrated together, and valued together for anything to really break this up,” he said. “And the world — look, we’re at one of those inflection points in world history; things are changing, the pieces on the board are moving. And it happens every some 50 to 75 years. It’s happening. And I want to be on the same board that France is on.” Watch below.

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