French far right leader Le Pen is seen on visit to Trump Tower

The Herald - - NEWS -

FRENCH Na­tional Front leader Marine Le Pen has been spot­ted at Trump Tower dur­ing a sur­prise visit to New York.

The French politi­cian was spot­ted hav­ing cof­fee with aides in­side Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s epony­mous sky­scraper be­fore be­ing whisked up­stairs in a lift.

It was un­clear who she was meet­ing, but in­com­ing press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer said she was not sched­uled to meet the Pres­i­dent-elect or any­one on his team. “No meet­ings with any­one,” tran­si­tion spokesman Sean Spicer said. “It’s a pub­lic build­ing.”

The visit comes just months be­fore France’s next pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Ms Le Pen who has de­scribed Mr Trump’s vic­tory as a sign of hope for her own cam­paign was seen en­ter­ing an el­e­va­tor at the build­ing.

She was with three men, Louis Aliot, her part­ner and vice pres­i­dent of Na­tional Front; Lu­dovic De Danne, her in­ter­na­tional af­fairs ad­viser; and Ital­ian busi­ness­man Ge­orge Lom­bardi, a Trump friend who lives in Trump Tower.

Ms Le Pen, who is in a run-off with con­ser­va­tive for­mer prime min­is­ter Fran­cois Fil­lon in next May’s elec­tion, has strug­gled to raise money for her cam­paign. She is ex­pected to earn enough votes in the first round of pres­i­den­tial vot­ing in April to en­ter a sec­ond round elec­tion set for May 7.

Her staff con­firmed her mul­ti­ple-day visit to New York, char­ac­ter­is­ing it as a pri­vate trip.

“She took two days to have a break,” cam­paign di­rec­tor David Rach­line said.

Le Pen has sought to boost her cre­den­tials with for­eign ap­pear­ances. Her staff in April an­nounced that she would go to Bri­tain to cam­paign for that coun­try’s exit from the Euro­pean Union but she ended up not go­ing af­ter be­ing shunned by the Brexit cam­paign.

Trump Tower has been the site of a se­ries of meet­ings be­tween Trump, a Repub­li­can, and busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers as he as­sem­bles his ad­min­is­tra­tion ahead of his in­au­gu­ra­tion on Fri­day next week. It has also be­come a tourist des­ti­na­tion since Trump’s sur­prise Novem­ber elec­tion vic­tory over Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton.

The group Hu­man Rights Watch men­tioned both Mr Trump and Ms Le Pen in a re­port warn­ing that the rise of pop­ulist lead­ers threat­ens global hu­man rights. It cited Mr Trump’s vic­tory as well as Bri­tain’s move to leave the Euro­pean Union, which was led by Nigel Farage.

MARINE LE PEN: Stug­gling to raise cam­paign funds.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.