France’s far-right presidential challenger Zemmour: Trump told me to stay true to myself

Like Trump, Zemmour has positioned himself as a political outsider, banking instead on his celebrity status and no-nonsense language.

 ERIC ZEMMOUR, leader of the French far-right party “Reconquete!” who is running in this year’s French presidential election, is seen at a campaign rally in Lille, northern France earlier this month. (photo credit: PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS)
ERIC ZEMMOUR, leader of the French far-right party “Reconquete!” who is running in this year’s French presidential election, is seen at a campaign rally in Lille, northern France earlier this month.
(photo credit: PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS)

Former US president Donald Trump has told French-Jewish far-right presidential challenger Eric Zemmour, whose nationalist program is shaping a divisive campaign race, to stay strong and true to his convictions, Zemmour said.Zemmour’s campaign team said the two had a 40-minute phone call late Monday. Like Trump, Zemmour has positioned himself as a political outsider, banking instead on his celebrity status and no-nonsense language.

“He told me to remain who I am, that the media would call me brutal but that what mattered was to stay true to myself,” Zemmour told reports on Tuesday.
Zemmour, 63, has said France needs saving from a downward spiral he blames largely on what he describes as unfettered immigration and the increasing influence of Islam on French society. He holds several convictions for inciting racial hate.
Zemmour said he told Trump that both their countries faced a “battle of civilizations.” “We share the same ideas, namely that the United States should remain the United States and France should remain France,” he added. The two discussed immigration, security and their countries’ respective economies, Zemmour’s campaign team said in a statement.
Trump’s 2016 presidential run is often cited as a blueprint for the campaign of Zemmour, a writer and polemicist who wants to unite the far-right and staunchly conservative voters who have traditionally voted for the mainstream center-right.
French right-wing commentator Eric Zemmour arrives before making a speech at an event at the ILEC conference centre, London, Britain, November 19, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/TOM NICHOLSON)French right-wing commentator Eric Zemmour arrives before making a speech at an event at the ILEC conference centre, London, Britain, November 19, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/TOM NICHOLSON)
Trump’s representatives were not immediately available for comment.
A real estate mogul and reality TV star before his term in the White House, Trump had not officially endorsed Zemmour, Randy Yaloz from the Republican Party’s overseas group told BFM TV. Yaloz said he was in the room with Zemmour during the call.
Opinion polls show Zemmour closing the gap on Conservative challenger Valerie Pecresse and Marine Le Pen, leader of the traditional far-right Rassemblement National party, for a place in April’s run-off vote. President Emmanuel Macron, who has still not officially declared his candidacy, leads the race, polls show.
In her 2017 presidential campaign, Le Pen sought to display her proximity to Trump when she traveled to his Manhattan business headquarters but left the place discreetly when nobody received her.
Le Pen sought to downplay Zemmour’s contact with Trump. “I wanted to meet him before he was president. To be honest, that’s more interesting than to do so afterward,” she told reporters.