French Prime Minister Manuel Valls reacted with anger at US Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s assertion that “France is no longer France”.
The Republican firebrand was speaking in Florida on Wednesday, after securing the Party’s official candidacy this week. He addressed the topic of Islamist terrorism, as he has done throughout the campaign.
However, when talking about the recent attacks on Saint-Etienne du Rouvray and Nice, both claimed by ISIL, he proclaimed that “France is no longer France”, an apparent attack on French security forces and government.
French Prime Minister Valls did not shy away from confrontation, as he defended his country on Twitter. In a direct address to Mr Trump, Valls said “France is still France”, and “France is strong”.
realDonaldTrump</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FranceisstillFrance?src=hash">#FranceisstillFrance</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Franceisstrong?src=hash">#Franceisstrong</a> Mr. Trump</p>— Manuel Valls (manuelvalls) July 27, 2016
Mr Trump’s comments came as an anecdote, as he told his supporters in Florida that he had asked a friend “How did you like France? He said, I wouldn’t go to France… because France is no longer France”.
Mr Trump continued, saying “They won’t like me for this, but look what happened in Nice”. Mr Trump has consistently argued throughout his campaign that the US and US security needs to “get very tough”. But by using the attacks on France for his political gains, Mr Trump has clearly made an enemy of Prime Minister Valls.
In fact, this is not the first time the two have clashed.
In December last year Prime Minister Valls directed another tweet at the Presidential hopeful, after the billionaire businessman voiced his wish to impose a ban on Muslims entering the US.
PM Valls replied that “our only enemy is radical Islam”, clearly disagreeing with Mr Trump’s Islamophobic statement.
Monsieur Trump, comme d'autres, entretient la haine et les amalgames : notre SEUL ennemi, c'est l'islamisme radical.— Manuel Valls (@manuelvalls) December 8, 2015