Marine Le Pen visited Trump Tower on January 11-13, 2017, but did not meet with President-Elect Donald Trump.
The New York Times reported that the frontrunner for President of France, Marine Le Pen, did not meet with Donald Trump after she made a visit specifically Trump Tower in New York City.1 Naturally, this could strike anybody as strange, considering Le Pen is running for president under similar circumstances as Trump and may want to get a few tips from him. Both leaders have been ruthlessly attacked by the media and the social justice left. Both have been called racists, nazis, xenophobic, and intolerant. Both have promoted strong nationalistic views on policies like immigration, border security, and fiscal policy. Perhaps Le Pen was strategic with the Trump Tower visit, not wanting to show an alliance with the U.S. President. But wanting to send a message: like Trump, she wants to change the direction of her country.
Le Pen has developed her campaign based on a growing nationalism in France. Early polling shows Le Pen with a 1-3 point lead,2 however some pollsters believe her lead might be larger that that. Considering U.S. polling that gave Hillary Clinton a 10 point lead heading into election day, and British polling that gave Bremain a 5 point lead in the final stretch, it is reasonable to assume Le Pen has a comfortable margin, but that could change. Already, her rival Emmanuel Macron has tried to damage her poll numbers by linking her to Trump.
But this may turn out to work in her favor.
Le Pen has spent a lot of time consulting an international team of experts, fundraisers, and strategists for her run. National Front spokesperson Denis Franceskin acknowledged that “she did meet people who were eager to meet with her—-businessmen, civil servants, people from different parts of the political spectrum.”3 Le Pen also met with a powerful businessman and fundraiser George Lombardi, who is aiding her campaign.
While Trump transition team spokesperson Hope Hicks confirmed on January 13, 2017 that no such meeting took place between the two leaders, Le Pen absolutely had a strategic agenda at Trump Tower. Her visit, within days of Trump’s inauguration, is symbolic for the overhaul she wants to deliver in her own country.