'They don't do it for fun': Macron slammed for telling retirees to stop moaning about pension cuts
The French leader was visiting the Colombey-les-Deux-Églises commune in the north-east of the country when he was confronted by a group of locals. One pensioner addressed the centrist president complaining about pension cuts.
The president chose to respond with a bit of moralizing and referred to his formidable predecessor. "The grandson of the general [Charles de Gaulle] told me a little while ago" that his grandfather's rule was: "You can speak freely, the only thing we should not do is to complain."
Macron insisted that French wartime leader “had the right idea” and the country “would be different if everyone did the same.”
The former investment banker explained to his compatriots that people in France "don't realize how lucky" they are. "We are seeing more and more elderly people in our country in good health," he noted.
Much of the French public did not agree with Macron’s definition of “luck” and his political opponents didn’t mince their words. “Those who complain don't do it just for the fun of it but because they are the victims of non-stop tax rises and endemic insecurity,” Macron’s nemesis, and political rival during the 2017 presidential campaign, Marine Le Pen wrote on Twitter.
Macron's other presidential rival Nicolas Dupont-Aignan called the president's "arrogance" merely "unlimited.""How can he lie [to the French] by denying the decline of pensions?" he asked.
L'arrogance de #Macron est sans limite ! Comment peut-il ainsi mépriser les Français à qui il impose tant de sacrifices, et mentir en niant la baisse des retraites !? Plus il parle du Gaullisme, moins il l'incarne... #Colombey#Constitutionpic.twitter.com/CQeWddbGk2— N. Dupont-Aignan (@dupontaignan) 4 октября 2018 г.
"Why do pensioners, the unemployed who struggle to find a stable job and the poor continue to complain? The head of State has to pull himself together," Valérie Boyer from the Republican Party wrote.
Pour #Macron "le pays se tiendrait autrement s'il ne se plaignait pas". C'est vrai, pourquoi les retraités qui ont moins de pouvoir d'achat, les chômeurs qui luttent pour trouver un emploi stable et les plus pauvres continuent de se plaindre ? Le Chef de l'Etat doit se ressaisir.— Valérie Boyer (@valerieboyer13) 4 октября 2018 г.
Thibault Fline, a counsellor who works at the National Assembly sarcastically noted that, according to Macron, if the French people stop complaining, they would "cross the street" and easily "find a job".
"Macron is at the top of his art: Contempt," Adrien Quatennens, from la France Insoumise party, wrote sarcastically.
Si les fainéants se donnaient le mal de traverser la rue pour trouver du travail, si ceux qui ne sont rien pouvaient ne pas coûter un pognon de dingue et si les gaulois réfractaires au changement pouvaient cesser de se plaindre... #Macron au sommet de son art : le mépris.— Adrien Quatennens (@AQuatennens) 4 октября 2018 г.
Many French people were also angered by Macron's 'stop complaining' comments, saying "now we should stop complaining and better die."
Another stressed that if French people "had the income and the benefits" which Macron promised to them, they wouldn't have complained.
quand un politique de premier plan à court d'arguments dit à son peuple d’arrêter de se plaindre c'est qu'il est impuissant à changer les choses , si on avait le même revenu & les mêmes avantages que lui c'est promis , on ne se plaindrait plus !— GRIMAULT Jean Pierre (@PJLONGBAULT) 4 октября 2018 г.
"What if he stopped a bit of complaining about "the French"?" one more person asked.
With nearly 17 months into his presidency the 40-year-old has seen his approval rating rapidly sinking.
One of the latest polls even showed that fewer people approve of the "President of the Rich" than of his predecessors at the same stage of their presidencies.
Macron's encounters with French citizens have repeatedly been slammed for lack of empathy. He once told an unemployed man that he could easily find a job if just he "crossed the street".
He also dressed down a teenager who called him "Manu" and told him to choose between "Mr President" and "sir". On one more occasion he sparked outcry after telling workers protesting job cuts "to look for a job."
The recent announcement that the government is to cut the budget and unveil billions of euros in tax relief for businesses didn't contribute to Macron's popularity either.
"On the domestic front, the period of grace for the new president has ended," independent journalist Luc Rivet told RT last month.
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