One year ago, when he was still president, Francois Hollande scandalized the establishment when it emerged that amid record unemployment, painful labor reforms, a sliding economy and the most serious social unrest in decades, the French president's personal hairdressed was getting paid a gross salary by the state of ~$11,000 per month (more than a European parliament member). As the media reported at the time, "the hairdresser, who the leaked contract names only as Oliver B, is set to earn half a million pounds over the course of Hollande’s current premiership, in exchange for being available at every waking moment and signing a contract promising not to speak about his position."
The fact that this was probably not the best way to spend French taxpayers' money was confirmed this past summer, when Hollande's approval rating was so low, the socialist president did not even run for re-election: a first in French history. Sadly, this was lost on Hollande's former Minister of Economy - and current president - Emmanuel Macron who failed to learn from the mistakes of his former boss.
According to French magazine Le Point, French President Emmanuel Macron spent €26,000 - over $30,000 - on makeup in his first three months as leader of the country.
As Politico adds, "Macron’s personal makeup artist put in two claims for payment, one for €10,000 and another for €16,000, for doing his makeup during his travels and ahead of press conferences."
When asked about this abuse of taxpayer funds, The Elysee Palace said in response: “We called in a contractor as a matter of urgency.” Still, aides said that spending on makeup would be “significantly reduced” in future, Le Point reported.
It gets better: according to the report, the amount spent was less than under Macron’s predecessors. Francois Hollande, for example, was said to spend €30,000 per quarter on makeup, including the salary of a makeup artist. Which means that in addition to his hairdresser who ran just under €10,000, the former French president spent over quarter million dollars in taxpayer funds every year to look good. One almost wonders why he left the French political scene with an approval rating in the single digits. As for Hollande's arguably even more vain predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy spent slightly less on his makeup then Macron: €8,000 a month.
The news comes as Macron’s popularity is plunging according to a new Harris Poll. Only 37% of voters approve of the job Macron is doing, down from a high of 57% after his election in May. Today's incident will not help his popularity.
Macron's popularity collapse means that his fall from grace was even faster than that of Trump, although oddly enough, one will not read much, if anything, about that particular collapse in the objective and unbiased western press. It could be a problem for France, however, during the next election when that one third of eligible voters who did not vote for either Macron or le Pen, finally decide to vote against the establishment cadidate.