French Election: From Trump to Clinton, Praise for Macron in U.S., but Specter of Putin Intervention Looms

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Clinton tweet on Macron
Clinton tweet on MacronCredit: Twitter

WASHINGTON - In the first hours after Emmanuel Macron's decisive election victory in France, leading U.S. politicians in Washington reacted to the results and tried to relate them to political discussion taking place in their own country. Macron was greeted by both Republicans and Democrats, but the contents of their greetings were far from identical.

One of the first to congratulate Macron was President Donald Trump, who tweeted on his personal account - "Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!" Shortly afterwards, the White House released a short official statement, attributed to Press Secretary Sean Spicer, which sent a similar message.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was the second highest-ranking official to congratulate Macron, writing that "we look forward to working with him to build on the strong relationship between the U.S. and France." Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida, wrote that "France is America's close ally and good friend," adding that he was looking forward to working with Macron to advance the two countries' "shared values."

In this May 4, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump talks to House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, after the House pushed through a health care bill.Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

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On the other side of the aisle, Democrats emphasized the fact that the Russian government worked during the election to assist Macron's rival, Marine Le Pen, including a last-minute publication of stolen documents and emails from Macron's campaign. The Democrats also noted that President Trump hinted two weeks ago that he was rooting for Le Pen's victory (although Trump later denied it).

French president-elect Emmanuel Macron waves to the crowd as he delivers a speech at the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7, 2017, after the second round of the French presidential electioCredit: PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, tweeted as the first results were coming in: "French people have spoken. Macron wins. Xenophobia/Putin lose. And Trump's candidate is rejected!"

California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, a leading voice on the investigation into Trump's ties to Russia during the last election, wrote that Macon's victory is "a big win in over the forces of right-wing nationalism" and a "very hopeful sign for Europe."

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, also focused on the Russian involvement, stating that "[the] Kremlin tried dirty tricks to influence outcome but in the end, a resounding rebuttal from the French people." Rep. Jerry Nadler, another New York Democrat, wrote: "Such an important triumph over forces of extremism & hate (& Trump/Putin)." Sen. Ben Cardin from Maryland applauded the French people for their "rejection of isolationism."

The one reaction that seems to take over social media, however, was by Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and the losing candidate of the 2016 election, who tweeted - "Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world. Defeat to those interfering w/democracy." Clinton then added a jab at U.S. media, writing: "(But the media says I can't talk about that)." The statement was most likely a reference to recent criticism hurled at Clinton after she blamed her election loss on Russian interference during a speech last week. Her tweet was shared by more than 45,000 users as of Sunday night – some 30,000 more than Trump's congratulatory tweet. 

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