Trump said Friday at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual conference in Dallas that “it would have been a whole different story,” if civilians near the attacks had been armed.
French foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll condemned the remarks in a statement Saturday, saying, “France expresses its firm disapproval of the comments by President Trump about the attacks of November 13, 2015 in Paris and asks for respect of the memory of the victims.”
Le président américain Donald Trump affirme que les attentats du 13-Novembre à Paris auraient fait moins de morts si les victimes avaient été armées, dans un discours à la convention de la NRA, le puissant lobby pro-armes #AFP pic.twitter.com/eDbDZUgWrK
— Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) May 5, 2018
“They were brutally killed by a small group of terrorists that had guns,” Trump told the crowd at the gun group’s conference. “They took their time and gunned them down one by one.”
Trump then formed a gun with his fingers and demonstrated a series of “booms” to represent the attack.
“But if one employee or just one patron had a gun or if one person in this room had been there with a gun aimed at the opposite direction, the terrorists would have fled or been shot,” Trump said.
Coordinated attacks from Islamist extremists at a concert hall, stadium, restaurants and bars killed 130 people and injured hundreds more on Nov. 13, 2015.
Other French officials condemned Trump’s remarks, including former French President François Hollande, France 24 reported.
“The shameful comments and obscene antics of Donald Trump say a lot about what he thinks about France and her values,” Hollande said in a statement in French. “The friendship between our peoples will not be stained by this disrespect and outrageousness. All my thoughts are for the victims of the November 13 attacks.”
Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls shared Trump’s remarks to the NRA on Twitter Saturday, writing “Indecent and incompetent. What more is there to say?”
Bernard Cazeneuve, who was the French minister of the interior when the attacks took place, said “the French are shocked” by Trump’s statement.
“This transgression, it’s disrespect,” he tweeted Saturday.
Survivors of the attack also shredded Trump for his comments.
Philippe Duperron, president of the survivors association 13onze15, told France 24 that the group was “outraged by this level of indecency.”
“Alas, no weapon would have changed the outcome because there were suicide bombers wearing explosive belts who were going to blow themselves in the places they were attacking,” Duperron said.