WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump told France's new president that he was "my guy" in the recent election, a French official said Thursday. The record shows only favorable words from Trump for centrist Emmanuel Macron's opponent, the defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
A look at Trump's views, before and now, on this month's French vote:
TRUMP to Macron at a lunch meeting in Brussels on Thursday, according to a French official: "You were my guy" in the French campaign. Trump also said he didn't endorse Le Pen, according to the official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.
THE FACTS: Trump may never have explicitly endorsed any candidate in France's election, but he had only nice things to say about one candidate: Le Pen. Whatever views he may have expressed privately are unknown.
In an April 21 interview with The Associated Press, Trump said he believed an attack that week on police officers in Paris would help the National Front leader because the violence played to her strengths.
"She's the strongest on borders, and she's the strongest on what's been going on in France," Trump said in the Oval Office interview. "Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election."
By contrast, Trump never spoke publicly about Macron before the vote. Former President Barack Obama endorsed Macron.
While Le Pen had echoed some of Trump's hardline rhetoric on immigration, the U.S. leader's words of support were surprising.
Le Pen had distanced herself from her father, National Front party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has been convicted of crimes related to anti-Semitism and mocked the Holocaust as a "detail" of history. But she still drew criticism for denying during the campaign that the French state was responsible for the roundup of Jews during World War II, and maintained an inner circle of old friends from her student days that included members of a radical group known for violence and anti-Semitism.
Trump called Macron after his resounding victory. He also tweeted congratulations to the 39-year-old winner, saying he looked forward to working with him.
Associated Press writer Angela Charlton in Brussels contributed to this report.
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