‘Touch of Homophobia’: Hollande’s joke on Macron’s ‘passive’ role with Trump angers govt spokesman

‘Touch of Homophobia’: Hollande’s joke on Macron’s ‘passive’ role with Trump angers govt spokesman
The recent joke uttered by ex-French President Francois Hollande about the “passive” role of Emmanuel Macron during his meeting with Donald Trump bears a “touch of homophobia,” the government spokesman said.

Hollande’s remark was in response to the rather tactile relationship between the two leaders, displayed during Macron’s visit to the White House. The French centrist president seemed to enjoy a cozy atmosphere in the company of his US counterpart. The pair repeatedly shook hands, kissed cheeks, and slapped each other on the back, displaying a touch-feely friendship that caused a major Twitter meltdown.

These handshakes are “strange,” Hollande noted, speaking to the Quotidien program on TMC, aired on Wednesday. “From this point of view, Emmanuel Macron is rather passive in the couple,” said. The audience then broke out in laughter.  

The ex-president lashed out further at his successor, who once served as the economy minister in his own administration. Asked if Macron is the president of the rich, he replied “No. He is the president of the VERY rich.”  

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Hollande’s comments did not go unnoticed by French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, who is considered one of the closest allies of French President Emmanuel Macron. 

The “passive” role remark is “a fat joke, it has a touch of homophobia. It does him [Hollande] no credit,” he said, speaking to LCP TV on Thursday.  

Self-ridicule?

While social media was abuzz over the awkward body language between US President Donald Trump and Macron, many people ridiculed Hollande’s “passive” role joke. “After these shameful remarks I regret having voted for him in 2012,” one person wrote, while another added: “This comic creates a one-person show.” 

“And what about this [picture]?” one person asked, adding a photo of warm embrace between Hollande and former US Secretary of State John Kerry back in January 2015.

Others pointed out that Hollande descended into self-ridicule while he served as president. “So who honestly expected him to do better as an ex-president?” 

Hollande, whose approval rating was only four percent at the end of his presidency in 2016, faced a barrage of online insults. He was once ridiculed for wearing a traditional Kazakh hat and coat, with the Twitterati saying he resembled Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Borat,’ and producing a meme depicting Hollande in various outfits.  On another occasion, he suffered a social media fiasco during a Periscope session, as people started insulting the then-French leader and even urged him to step down. 

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