France’s Le Pen Generates a Stir With Stops at Trump TowerBy , , and
Le Pen has no meetings scheduled with Trump nor his aides
French presidential candidate is leading in latest poll
French National Front leader Marine Le Pen made an unannounced visit to New York and caused a stir when she was spotted at Trump Tower flanked by a longtime friend of President-elect Donald Trump.
But Le Pen, who leads in the latest opinion poll for the French presidential election, had no meeting scheduled with Trump nor with members of his transition team, according to representatives for her and for the president-elect. Her campaign chief, David Rachline, said she was making a private trip to New York.
Le Pen waved off reporters when approached while she sat drinking coffee with three other people outside the Trump Ice Parlor on Thursday.
Among them was Guido Lombardi, an adviser to Le Pen who lives three stories below Trump’s penthouse and is a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump once described Lombardi and his wife as “friends for a long time.” Lombardi said last year that he helped organize a Trump rally in Washington during the campaign.
Lombardi told reporters later Thursday that he’d organized a private party for Le Pen on Wednesday night that included “entrepreneurs, businessmen, industrialists –- there was a couple of people from the United Nations” who are supporters of her.
“We did not reach out to Mr. Trump even though he’s a friend of mine,” Lombardi said. “I know very well his policy about not meeting foreign leaders. He had this policy all throughout his campaign. We know that. We respect that. We didn’t ask him to meet her. We did not go begging for any interview with anyone on the transition team because she was here to meet other people.”
Lombardi said, laughing, that on Thursday he, Le Pen and the others “were just grabbing coffee and were hoping nobody was here.”
Trump spokesman, Sean Spicer said that the French politician had no meeting with members of Trump’s staff and he didn’t know why she was in Trump Tower. “It’s a public building,” he said.
Le Pen is set to launch her official campaign on Feb. 4 in a meeting with supporters in the French city of Lyon. She has repeatedly said she supports Trump’s policies for the U.S. and called him “a sign of hope” for European anti-establishment politicians in a press conference this month.
"The message is very similar. The message is a populist message that resonate with what we call the working class,” Lombardi said, adding that a third of her support comes from the left. “The working class, even in France, are fed up with the elitist, globalist politicians that are not doing anything for their own people, and they are looking for someone, a new voice."
Trump has met on several occasions with Nigel Farage, the former leader of the U.K. Independence Party, most recently in December.