Spotted today at Trump Tower was French National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who came for an unannounced visit to New York, just months before France’s presidential election. Le Pen refused to answer questions when approached by reporters in the lobby of the building where members of the media have camped since Donald Trump electoral victory. An aide also declined to comment.
Le Pen and two male companions were seen seated at a table in a cafe at Trump Tower.
The French political leader was not on Trump’s agenda for the day, according to Bloomberg News, which quoted an anonymous staffer on the transition team. According to Le Pen’s top campaign aide, Le Pen was making a private visit to New York. Trump spokesman Sean Spicer has confirmed that Le Pen was not on the president-elect's schedule.
On February 4, Le Pen will set her official presidential campaign in motion during a meeting with her supporters in Lyon, France. Le Pen has publicly endorsed Trump’s campaign promises and plans for the United States and labeled him “a sign of hope” for politicians like herself who are running against the socialist, pro-immigration policies of the past. She is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder and leader of the nationalist National Front party.
Nigel Farage is another European politician who has expressed support for Trump. The former leader of the U.K. Independence Party came most recently in December. During the presidential campaign, Farage came to the U.S. to express his support for Trump after a public referendum, inspired by Farage and his party, was successful in beginning the process of separating the United Kingdom from the European Union.
A pool report of Le Pen's appearance has identified one man with her as her partner. The other is George Lombardi, who represents Citizens for Trump, but who is not formally affiliated with the Trump campaign.
The first round of France's presidential election takes place in April. Le Pen is leading polls but is considered unlikely to win the two-way runoff in May. She inspired controversy recently by saying that the sight of Muslims praying in French streets reminded her of the Nazi occupation. Such public displays of religiosity are illegal in France but have been tolerated by the Socialist government. Muslim groups have demanded that the government provide worship spaces for them, and have even called for the Catholic Church to give over its churches to them.