John Kerry On Recent Foreign Crisis: Biden ‘Literally Had Not Been Aware Of What Had Transpired’

White House climate envoy John Kerry told a French news organization this week that President Joe Biden was “literally” not aware of the conflict that arose between the U.S. and France last month after Australia dumped a multi-billion dollar contract with France for submarines, then signed on with the U.S. and the U.K. instead.

The move by the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. caused France to cancel a gala in the U.S. and to recall its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia. French leaders described the incident as a betrayal and said that they had been lied to by the Biden administration.

“President Biden asked me about it, and I told him, and expressed–,” said Kerry in an interview with French cable channel BFMTV.

“You told Joe Biden that it was not the right–,” asked an interviewer.

“He asked me. He said, ‘what’s the situation?’ and I explained exactly, uh. He wasn’t, he had not been aware of that. He literally had not been aware of what had transpired and I don’t want to go into the details of it, but suffice it to say, that the president, my president is very committed to strengthening the relationship and making sure that this is a small event of the past and moving on to the much more important future.”

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TRANSCRIPT:

JOHN KERRY, WHITE HOUSE CLIMATE ENVOY: We have a relationship with France that is so much bigger than this moment of what happened with respect to the lack of communication that has been defined already. And I found that today in talking with President Macron an understanding that we have so much to work on. France is a great leader. France historically has written so much of history and we together have written so much of our history together. And our commitment to values, to freedom, to liberty, to justice, to a strong Europe, to our ability to be able to work together is much much stronger than any of these differences of the last few days and I think you will see that very quickly. President Biden looks forward to meeting with President Macron and I’m absolutely confident that the bigger issues that we have to work on about nuclear weapons, about cyberwarfare, about climate, about the economic dislocation of the world, about the challenges of the less developed world, we have a lot of work to do and we can’t get lost in a, you know, a momentary event that I think we will get past very quickly. …

President Biden asked me about it, and I told him, and expressed–

INTERVIEWER: You told Joe Biden that it was not the right–

KERRY: He asked me. He said, ‘what’s the situation?’ and I explained exactly, uh. He wasn’t, he had not been aware of that. He literally had not been aware of what had transpired and I don’t want to go into the details of it, but suffice it to say, that the president, my president is very committed to strengthening the relationship and making sure that this is a small event of the past and moving on to the much more important future.

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