The former President of France, Jacques Chirac, who died Thursday, was not known for his political correctness and was fearlessly outspoken on everything from the Iraq War to Margaret Thatcher.
Here are some of his best quotes.
Chirac was a fierce opponent of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. He believed there was “no justification” for a unilateral invasion and criticized the “reckless” behaviour of other EU member states for their willingness to go along with Washington’s war plans.
I am not prepared to accept the economics of a housewife.
This was how Chirac, in 1987, referred to the then-UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s economic policy. It wasn’t the last time he would refer to Thatcher as a “housewife” either. In a hot mic moment during an EU summit in Brussels a year later, Chirac complained that Britain’s first female premier was making too many requests, asking: “What more does this housewife want from me? My balls on a plate?” He later apologized.
These were the words reportedly uttered by Chirac on learning that a man had attempted to assassinate him during the Bastille Day parade on July 14, 2002. On that day, 25-year-old neo-Nazi Maxime Brunerie attempted to shoot the French president with a rifle. He missed and tried to turn the gun on himself, but was quickly tackled by police and arrested.
What do you want? Me to get back on my plane and go back to France? Is that what you want? Then let them go – this is not a method, this is provocation.
Chirac lashed out in frustration at Israeli guards over their manhandling of photographers and Palestinians trying to get close to him during a visit to Israel in 1996.
I have always been allergic to the National Front. It’s something almost physical, I can’t stand anything to do with racism and xenophobia.
Chirac was no fan of the anti-immigration right-wing National Front party, though he was also controversially outspoken about his own views on immigration, saying on one occasion that having Poles, Spaniards and Portuguese was better than having “blacks and Muslims” with their “three or four wives and twenty-something kids.”
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