BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump told Emmanuel Macron on Thursday that he had been his favorite to win the French presidential election and media reports that he was backing far-right leader Marine Le Pen were wrong, a French official said.
“You were my guy,” Trump told the new French president when they met for the first time in Brussels, the French presidency official said.
Trump told Macron that, contrary to media reports during the race, he had not backed Le Pen and had followed Macron’s campaign with great attention, the source said, adding that the two leaders had spoken in English.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said he did not know if Trump had said this to Macron but noted that the two men had good chemistry.
Centrist Macron beat National Front leader Le Pen in a May 7 run-off vote after a hard-fought campaign that pitted Macron’s pro-European views against Le Pen’s anti-globalisation, anti-EU and anti-immigration stance.
After a policeman was killed in Paris in April by a suspected Islamist militant, Trump told the Associated Press he thought the attack would “probably help” Le Pen because she was the candidate who is “strongest on borders”. However, he said he was not explicitly endorsing Le Pen.
Le Pen said she was best placed to defend France’s interests in what she called the “new world” of Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Reporting by Marine Pennetier and Steve Holland; writing by Adrian Croft; editing by Michel Rose