Apr 21, 2017, 8:13 AM ET

Trump says Paris attack will 'probably help' far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in French election

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In an interview with the Associated Press, President Donald Trump said that he believes the Paris attack that left one police officer dead and two others wounded will "probably help" far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in France's upcoming presidential election.

Trump stopped short of explicitly endorsing Le Pen, but argued that the Paris attack will bolster her candidacy since she's the "strongest on borders, and she's the strongest on what's been going on in France."

During a briefing with reporters held off-camera, press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump did not have a favored candidate in the French election.

President Trump also tweeted this morning that the attack in Paris on Thursday "will have a big effect" on the upcoming French presidential election.

"The people of France will not take much more of this," he added.

ISIS claimed that the attacker, who police later identified as 39-year-old French national Karim Cheurfi, as "one of the fighters for the Islamic State."

A terrorism investigation into the attack had been opened, according to the Paris prosecutor's office. French President François Hollande said that the leads so far indicate the attack was of a "terrorist nature."

Trump offered condolences to France and called the attack "a terrible thing" during a joint news conference Thursday with the Italian prime minister at the White House.

"It is a very, very terrible thing that's going on in the world today but it looks like another terrorist attack," Trump said Thursday afternoon before ISIS later claimed responsibility.

"What can you say? Just never ends," Trump said. "We have to be strong and we have to be vigilant, and I have been saying it for a long time."

French voters head to the polls Sunday for the first round of voting. There are 11 candidates in the running, including Le Pen and former economy minister Emmanuel Macron who are the frontrunners.

Trump had previously commented briefly on the presidential race in an interview with the Financial Times early this month. Le Pen has been caricatured as the French equivalent of Trump both because of her nationalist positions and perceived underdog status in the race.

"I don’t know what is going to happen," Trump said. "I know that some outside distractions have taken place which have changed that race."

Trump did not elaborate on what he meant by "outside distractions."

During the campaign, Trump notably seized on terror attacks as evidence that his warnings about the dangers of “radical Islamic terrorism” were validated.

After the 2015 San Bernardino, California, attack, Trump announced a proposed "complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," a statement that has since haunted his administration as it attempted to institute a ban on immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.

News - Trump says Paris attack will 'probably help' far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in French election

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  • Edup McD

    Le Pen & Trump both want to work for Russia ...
    Birds of a feather ...

  • SavannahVielle

    Just look at the time frame of this latest Terrorist attack, coincidence, I think not, ISIS are working on using fear to direct which way the election will go.

  • SavannahVielle

    Doesnt Trump get it! ISIS want the far right to succeed in every country, they do not want peace, they do not want people such as Obama to run countries, they want Dictators and people that will encourage bigotry and want race/religous hate to fill the world and for the world to end in a bloody war and have said this themselves. With all this hate, it enables them to find more recruites for jihad.

  • ruelph

    Again, Marine Le Pen is the type of person that would have collaborated with the NAZI troops during the occupation of France in WWII. In the end, she is going to get her hair shave off.

  • Dan T

    This ideology has literally ruined parts of France, Belgium & Germany

  • mrphilbert

    Why does it seem like tchump is giddy about this?

  • threehundredthousand ✓ᵛᵉʳᶥᶠᶥᵉᵈ

    Trump is getting his knickers in a twist over this murder of a police officer and wounding of two others with a firearm in Paris while not seeming to notice that a police officer is shot dead every week in the USA and they are shot non-fatally pretty much on a daily basis.

  • Jack25

    Maybe yes, maybe no. The French are not as swayed by fear monger as are Americans. Having experienced two great wars and many more terrorist attacks they tend to be made of stronger stuff.

  • Bryan Thompson

    "You're going to have such great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it is going to be so easy," Trump promised at a Florida rally in October 2016.
    "So simple. So simple," Trump said of his plan to get Mexico to pay for the border wall in an interview with Bill O'Relly in August 2015.
    "You know the Great Wall of China, built a long time ago, is 13,000 miles. I mean, you're talking about big stuff. We're talking about peanuts, by comparison, to that. Mexico will pay for the wall. I will make sure it gets done properly."
    "This money can all be saved through simple, common sense reforms," Trump said by way of explanation of how he would cut $800 million from government spending in order to make his tax plan add up.

    Who cares what he says about anything? Nothing but a lying sos. Aka, King Deplorable.

  • d bogard

    Trump, perhaps you should be more concerned about your own government, in case you haven't notice your staff is an inept joke, every country is making fun of you and you don't see it.

  • grumpyoldfuddyduddy

    France may not change anything by electing La Pen... The US elected Trump, yet we are STILL fighting Obama's war in Syria...with Saudi allies against the Shia. As it turns out, Trump is no different about taking Saudi money than Jeb or Hillary.

    Whether Pen is liberal or conservative probbly doesn't matter. The Saudis pay everyone, and everyone who takes Saudi money hates Assad.

  • YourWorstNightmare

    "You're going to have such great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it is going to be so easy," Trump promised at a Florida rally in October 2016."So simple. So simple," Trump said of his plan to get Mexico to pay for the border wall in an interview with Bill O'Relly in August 2015."

    Someone with his record of zero accomplishments should be worrying about his own problems.

  • dancer92136

    This is a terrible thing for sure, but where is the outrage in the US over the multiple shooting of police this week? As far a I am concerned shot by home grown terrorists and thugs. Why is this worse than incidents like what happened in Seattle and elsewhere? This year thus far 40 police have been killed, but this one attack is so much more egregious?

  • secondlook

    These republicans sure do love terrorism.

  • crazypete1

    Of course it will have a big effect... why do you think ISIS carried it out at this time?

  • Ira Cohen

    He is praying for Le Pen to win. The farther right the better. The end of the EU and the rise of the Russian federation. He's not your friend nor a friend of democracy or freedom. And don't be a minority anywhere!!!!!
    Watch how his friend and buddy Erdogan in Turkey operates,

  • anastasiabeaverhousen

    So why would ISIS carry out an attack so close to the election? Considering that the presumed influence on voters, if any, will be to bolster the far Right's anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant agenda?

    Bingo. Such policies play directly into the narrative ISIS is using to radicalize western Muslims.

    If such policies threatened ISIS rather than aiding their agenda, they certainly wouldn't do anything just before the election which might make it more likely a hard-line Right-wing nationalist would win.

  • YourWorstNightmare

    Instead of commenting on the election of another country, why aren't you sending your choice of AG, Sessions, to law school? As the top law enforcement official, shouldn't he know the law? Why is he so clueless on how the court system works and that Hawaii is now a state, not just an island in the Pacific?

  • Time_For_A_Trainwreck

    Does Trump know who's running?

  • muffler

    Did Le-Pen meet with Putin last week? LMAO

  • J R

    It will be interesting to see whether there is a bump in LaPen's turnout due to this attack. This could potentially get her the majority, however the attack was small so maybe not. It could effect those on the fence.

  • YourWorstNightmare

    Wasn't it Trump that was blaming Obama every time there was a terrorist attack in the world? Why isn't he accepting any of the blame? Oh, wait, I forgot. Donald the Blameless.

  • mik8888

    So now The Donald is promoting himself as The Oracle of America again...amazing Donnie, you definitely amaze the world...

  • chevieman62

    The French People have had enough of Muslim immigration. Any political candidate who supports it, will be defeated.

  • 7iThor

    It's funny how some people will put up with one type of crime and barely blink an eye over it but get in a tizzy over something that happens very, very rarely. Is it conditioning?

  • YourWorstNightmare

    Obama made an innocuous comment about Brexit and Trump went wild accusing Obama of interfering. And now he does this? The man is truly deranged.

  • Atavist

    Well there is no point on commenting here any longer. The ABC moderator has been removing everyone's comments that are very benign. I can even figure out why. I've never seen such lame moderation.

  • YourWorstNightmare

    Thank you Mr President for doing the terrorists a favor. You're doing exactly what they want. Why do you think they made the attack at this time?

    Will you ever learn? Are you always going to help the terrorists with your Big Mouth?

  • BWitched

    I just did the ancestor DNA test and found out I was 73% French. My prayers go out to my ancestors homeland. I hope we find an end to terrorism in my lifetime.

  • Atavist

    The French are very tolerant people. We are going to how long that tolerance will last. The Germans are already getting close to being fed up and they haven't even had the amount of terrorism problems France has had.

  • SenorApplesauce

    Hey look, Trump is following in Obama's footsteps yet again. Meddling in another countries election. Isn't that what Obama used to do and get guff for doing it?

  • Old Canis Lupis

    The timing of this attack, the poor execution of it, the lack of a mass casualty target, smells of desperation. But who is the desperate party? Who truly benefits from this attack?

  • TexasVulcan

    Anything to stoke the flames of hate. Anything to blame all Muslims for the actions of a few radicals.

  • Alex Ross

    Trump also said terror activities throughout the world would cease solely because he's president. He brags way too much for someone without a win or a plan.