This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, April 15, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Last year, French exports to the U.S. totaled over $28 billion. This year that figure is likely to be much lower. And couple that with the growing number of Americans boycotting trips to France, well, you’ve got the makings of a financial fiasco for one Jacques Chirac. Should the U.S. relax its hard-line feelings? Let’s ask former New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato.
ALFONSE D’AMATO, FMR. NEW YORK SENATOR: No way. Of course I have been very understated, I always have been.
CAVUTO: Yes, you’re pretty meek.
D’AMATO: Even when I was in office. Bit now you don’t - I don’t give a darn. I can call it the way I see it. What the French did to us, Neil, was unforgivable. It is one thing to oppose a policy or say, I can’t support this. It is another thing to attempt to subvert, to ridicule, to hurt an ally. And that is exactly what they did. And now to have Chirac, the weasel, come out and say, oh you know we really wanted democracy in Iraq, we really didn’t want Saddam, is ridiculous.
CAVUTO: All right. But still, a lot of people are saying these boycotts are going to too far. They are hurting both sides.
D’AMATO: I am going to tell you something, spend your money, you want to travel, go to England, London, fantastic, go to Rome, my country, go to Spain, Barcelona, incredible they were there for us. The French, they looked to subvert us. I have to tell you a little thing, Evian water, I used to have it brought into my office for all of the kids because wanted the freshwater. No more. Poland springs. So the fact of the matter is while I might say, and I understand, you know, there are some great French restaurants that are owned by Americans, and have primarily Americans working there, et cetera, and you don’t want to hurt them. I’ll tell you I don’t have to take their products. I don’t have to go there, I don’t have to send them money. I don’t have to be supportive of the people who have done nothing but hurt us; and by the way, could’ve played a great role in maybe getting this tyrant to leave without there being a war.
CAVUTO: So you are saying you are going to keep this going as long as it takes.
CAVUTO: But will you it forever?
D’AMATO: As far as I’m concerned, until I know and see that they have come and knelt - by the way, the bravest day that the French have had was back in Napoleon, all right? You have to go back to Napoleon, and do you know something? He wasn’t French. Did you know that? He came from Corsica, he was born in Corsica.
CAVUTO: I thought he was a republican, I didn’t know that.
D’AMATO: He wasn’t even French.
CAVUTO: So you didn’t even like as far as. ..
D’AMATO: So for you, Francais, guess what? You’re going to get what you deserve. And it’s not our American.
CAVUTO: But Senator - in all seriousness, Senator, there is a worry that there is a tit-for-tat, that they would, you know, they’re blowing up McDonald’s over there.
D’AMATO: By the way, they are already doing it
D’AMATO: They are already anti-American. They were already working against us.
CAVUTO: So we are not going to be friends anymore?
D’AMATO: No. Within European community they have been looking to undercut us because they want to capture grandeur of the Corsica Napoleon, not the Frenchman, the Corsican. He’s more Italian.
CAVUTO: Do you have any French friends?
D’AMATO: He is more Italian than he was French. How do you like that?
CAVUTO: Name me one French friend you have.
D’AMATO: Jacques Chirac.
CAVUTO: That’s it.
D’AMATO: Oh, and what a friend he is and what I would like to do to him.
CAVUTO: All right, listen, good luck coming out of shell, I think you are getting good with this.
D’AMATO: I don’t know what it is that is I am no longer inhibited by the constraints of politics.
CAVUTO: You were now really inhibited, by the way, when you were a senator, but I mean.
D’AMATO: And this that was my downfall.
CAVUTO: All right. Senator Al D’Amato, always good seeing you, my friend.
D’AMATO: Good being with you.
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