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Le Pen in NY for Unannounced Visit During French Race


Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, dropped by Trump Tower Thursday, though she reportedly wasn't stopping in for a chat with the president-elect.

Le Pen, who leads in the latest opinion poll for the presidency, is making a private visit to NY, her campaign chief of staff, David Rachline, said in a text-message exchange. A subsequent pool report identified the man sitting to Le Pen's right as Guido "George" Lombardi, who the Citizens for Trump website describes as "Co-Founder, National Liaison, Press Correspondent".

Le Pen is not the first European Trump admirer to stop by Trump Tower.

The French presidential election is in less than four months, and Le Pen is now leading in the presidential opinion polls.

"It is not on the agenda, we do not discuss private visits", Rachline said.

She has praised the president-elect, claiming that he is a "sign of hope" for European anti-establishment politicians.

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 January 20 inauguration.

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The group Human Rights Watch mentioned both Trump and Le Pen in a report warning that the rise of populist leaders threatens global human rights.

She has voiced support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for stricter immigration controls to fight radical Islamic terrorism.

Le Pen plans to launch her official campaign on 4 February 2017 in a meeting with supporters in Lyon.

However, a Trump aide told CNN that Le Pen was not meeting with Trump or any member of the president-elect's transition team.

She took over leadership of the National Front in 2011 from her father and party co-founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

"Between him and Hillary Clinton, it is clear that I would choose Donald Trump", she said in July, adding that Trump "is a free man, not beholden to Wall Street, markets or financial lobbies, or even his own party".

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