'What was he thinking?' France reacts to Donald Trump's comment about Brigitte Macron

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French commentators have responded with quiet fascination to Donald Trump’s remarks on Thursday about their first lady’s physical fitness.

Footage was posted to the French government’s Facebook page from the US president’s first state visit to the country, in which Mr Trump commented on Brigitte Macron’s fine form.

“You’re in such good shape,” the 71-year-old says in the footage, before turning to Mr Macron to marvel: “She’s in such good physical shape.”

“Beautiful,” he adds.

Brigitte Macron is 64, while husband Emmanuel is 39. Mr Trump’s wife Melania is 47.

Donald Trump tells Brigitte Macron she’s “in such good shape”

While US and UK media were swift to report on accusations of sexism and ageism, the French press were more restrained.

Magazine Paris Match as well as TV network France24 both noted criticism of the comments overseas, especially in the US where Mr Trump’s comments are scrutinised often for sexism.

In an article about the incident on France24, it said the comments went “unnoticed” in France, adding: “If the compliment doesn’t pass, it’s because it makes reference to Brigitte Macron’s age.”

Women’s magazine La Parisienne wrote in an online article about the incident: “It’s difficult to know exactly what Donald Trump was thinking and wished to express.

“Even if it were not a sexist remark or a reference to Brigitte Macron’s age, the formulation appears at least clumsy.”

Le Monde meanwhile ran a two-paragraph story reporting the “compliment” and pointing to past warnings by Mr Trump’s detractors that sexist comments could lose him the election.

“That wasn’t the case,” the article noted.

The remarks were cooler than those of several English-language critics, such as a Twitter post by US video producer Alex Berg.

“People will shrug and say, ‘Trump was just offering her a compliment!’ It’s creepy and over the line to comment on a person’s body,” said the tweet.

Meanwhile, comedian Chelsea Handler joked: “To be fair, Trump didn’t know women lived to be 64.”


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