French far-right presidential hopeful gives Trump gold star


ELAINE GANLEY, AP

PARIS — French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has nothing but praise for U.S. President Donald Trump, saying on Thursday that she thinks his actions so far are good for France.

Le Pen, who is leading in the latest opinion polls ahead of the spring election, told The Associated Press that “my only framework is what is in the interest of France.”

She credited Trump with a series of accomplishments, including “the promotion of a form of intelligent protectionism, of economic patriotism,” as well as his plan to change or scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, and his “rupture with total free trade imposed on the world.”

So far, “There is no (untoward) international fallout” and “I only have reason to rejoice” in Trump’s actions, she said.

Le Pen made the remarks after laying out her foreign policy approach were she to win the April 23 and May 7 election to replace unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande, not seeking a second mandate.

She described a stark vision based on a multipolar world but with France going it alone, first laid out in a conference this month when her platform was made public.

Dozens of foreign diplomats were in attendance. The Saudi Arabian ambassador was among them as well as a U.S. embassy official, according to Bertrand Dutheil de la Rochere of Le Pen’s National Front party.

The start of her speech was briefly interrupted by a bare-chested protester from the FEMEN group that has crashed at least two previous Le Pen events in recent years. The single protester screaming “Marine fictive feminist” — the words written on her chest — was carried off screaming by bodyguards.

Le Pen, unperturbable, continued, decrying past actions by the United States as “strategic adventurism (that) has harmed what we consider to be our interests.” She attributed actions in Iraq, Syria and Libya to the United States, as well as the fallout, from the surge in migrants to destabilization in the Mediterranean and “dangerous games with Islamic militias.”

“We are hoping that with the election of President Donald Trump there will be a major shift, nearly a complete makeover, which would be positive not only for the world but also for the United States,” Le Pen said.