Politics

Democrats Cheer Centrist Victory in France, Republicans Mostly Silent

Many saw French election as extension of centrist vs. right wing ideological fight in the U.S.

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron waves to the crowd on Monday as he attends a ceremony to mark the Western allies’ victory in Europe in World War II with outgoing President Francois Hollande. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

France’s presidential election drew more attention in the U.S. than normal because many saw it as an extension of the ideological fight between centrism and the far right that characterized the presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

French voters elected centrist Emmanuel Macron president, resoundingly rejecting far-right white nationalist Marine Le Pen, 66-34 percent.

For the most part, members of Congress took an interest in the election, with many tweeting their thoughts during the campaign and after Macron’s victory:

Rep. Steve King was the only member to openly side with Le Pen on Twitter, posting a photo of himself and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher discussing “liberty and shared values” with her in February. Like King and Rorhbacher, Le Pen and her National Front Party are staunch opponents of immigrants and Muslims, and used fear of those groups to push the issue.

King tweeted his best wishes to Le Pen on Sunday, but has not commented about her loss.

Democrats, meanwhile, opposed Le Pen as an avatar of the far right and found common cause with Macron, whose centrist politics mirror their own.

Some Democrats also lamented the strength of the far right even in defeat, and an apparent attempt by hackers to influence the election by releasing documents from Macron's campaign.

Others connected Trump’s support of Le Pen to her party’s far-right stances and history of anti-Semitism.

Though most member who congratulated Macron were Democrats, Paul Ryan also congratulated the president-elect.

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