French President Emmanuel Macron quipped he's trying to make France "great again" in response to criticism he's governed as an authoritarian, a nod to the famous "Make America Great Campaign" slogan of President Donald Trump.
Macron is making an official state visit to the United States beginning Monday to celebrate nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relations.
"Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace noted some in the French press have compared Macron to Napoleon and King Louis XIV since he took office in 2017. Although the 40-year-old Macron is viewed as a progressive stalwart abroad, the Washington Post reports he's seen as a "liberal strongman" in his own country.
Discontent with him has grown in France for governing in a perceived autocratic fashion and being beholden to the rich, and critics have taken exception to his efforts to reduce the powers of Parliament. A recent poll showed only 42 percent support for his policies in France.
"Do you ever feel you need to guard against being arrogant?" Wallace asked.
"Definitely," Macron said. "But having authority, deciding, being aware of all the consequences of your decision, and thinking that you have to stick to your decision to deliver when it's good for the country, is not the same as being authoritarian or arrogant."
"I'm here to serve my people in my country and make it great again, as somebody I know very well could say," Macron added. "That's the whole story, and make it great again means delivering good results, having more unity for the country, and being fair with the people."
Macron said ahead of his visit that he and Trump have a "very special relationship" due to what he says are their outsider statuses.
"We have a very special relationship because both of us are probably the maverick of the systems on both sides," he said. "I think President Trump’s election was unexpected in your country, and probably my election was unexpected in my country. And we are not part of the classical political system."
While the leader of the oldest U.S. ally and Trump have appeared friendly for the cameras, they differ on several significant issues, among them the Iran nuclear deal, Syria, the Paris climate accords, and Trump's recent steel and aluminum tariffs.