While over the past week Trump has hardly needed outside help to generate a spectacular dose of media scandals, overnight an unexpected attack came from none other than French socialist president Hollande expressed extreme revulsion at Donald Trump’s “excesses” in the U.S. presidential campaign and warned against the authoritarian tone adopted by the Republican nominee.
Coming from the man who defined the term "shampoo socialism" when it was revealed that his personal hairdresser costs the French people €11,000 per month, Hollande knows excesses when he sees them. In fact, Hollande is not just anybody. Recall that “everyone needs their hair done, no?” Stephane Le Foll, the government spokesman, said after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace Wednesday in Paris. “I can understand people’s questions, I can understand their judgments. He’s not just anybody, that’s all.”
Cited by Bloomberg, Hollande continued his bashing of Trump, adding that “in the U.S., one of the world’s great democracies, maybe the greatest democracy, where democracy was born, before the French one, we see some excesses that are sickening,”
Hollande had nothing to say about French, and NATO ally, Turkey, whose president Erdogan has recently detained over 60,000 people in a historic purge following what many say was a staged coup. He did, however, pile on in the ongoing scandal involving Donald Trump and the parents of Humayun Khan. He said when Trump “speaks ill of a soldier, of the memory of a soldier,” an allusion to his feud with the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq in 2004.
Hollande and Trump have already swapped barbs, most recently when Trump said in the aftermath of a string of terror attacks on France that he would not visit the country because “France is no longer France.” Hollande responded his country would stay true to its values.
In his comments to French journalists, Hollande this time did not hold back his disdain and dismay at the prospect of a Trump White House: “If the American people choose Trump it will have consequences worldwide because the U.S. is a global economy,” he told a hotel conference room of 66 reporters over drinks.
In other words, if democracy prevails in a world in which Trump has more supporters than Hillary, Hollande will be most mispleased. Why? Because if Trump wins, Hollande knows that he is next. “The U.S. campaign provides themes that will then come into the French campaign,” Hollande said, adding that what was once “unthinkable,” a Trump administration, has now entered the realm of “foreseeable.”
Ironically, when it comes to Hollande, Trump may have a point. The French presidential elections are next year and it’s unclear if Hollande, the most unpopular leader in modern French history, will run again. The country has been overwhelmed by a fatal series of terrorist plots amid a rising chorus calling upon the government to disregard legal checks on its power in the pursuit of potential attackers, echoing some of Trump's own proposals.
Hollande and his government have pledged to stick to the rule of law.
It is unclear what impact Hollande's bashing of Trump will have. In a recent poll, Hollande was viewed unfavorably by a record 90% of the French population. The French socialist's popularity is clearly not "high" in the US either, and as Brexit showed following Obama's stern warning that should the UK "Brexit" it would go to the "back of the queue", only for his warning to backfire, perhaps Hollande's words are just the impetus Trump needs to break the spell of bad news that has seen him slide in recent polls.