John Kerry said that President Joe Biden had "literally, literally" not been aware at all that France might be upset with a trilateral deal the U.S. made with Australia and the United Kingdom.
The U.S. special presidential envoy for climate made the comments on French television while trying to explain how the international debacle had occurred.
"He asked me. He said, 'What's the situation?' and I explained exactly, uh," Kerry said. "He was, he had not been aware of that, he literally, literally had not been aware of what had transpired. And I don't want to go into the details of it."
Kerry was referring to the AUKUS deal to check China's growing presence in the Indo-Pacific. A major feature of the deal is that the U.S. and Britain would develop a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia. France later called the deal a "stab in the back" because it invalidated their deal to provide diesel-powered submarines to Australia.
"But suffice it to say that the president," Kerry continued, "my president is very committed to, um, strengthening the relationship and making sure that this is a small event of the past and moving on to the much more important future."
Critics of Biden pointed to Kerry's comments to further skepticism about the president's capability to fulfill the duties of the Oval Office.
France has since recalled its ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia to emphasize its outrage at the deal. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian went on to deride the AUKUS alliance.
"This brutal, unilateral, unpredictable decision looks very much like what Mr. Trump used to do," he said. "Allies don't do this to each other. It's rather insufferable."
Here's more about the France fallout with the AUKUS deal:
France angry after U.S. strikes deal with Australia for nuclear subs www.youtube.com