- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2017

French conservative leader Marine Le Pen made a surprise visit Thursday to Trump Tower in New York accompanied by a confidant of President-elect Donald Trump, but she was only there for a cup of coffee and didn’t meet with Mr. Trump.

The appearance nevertheless caused a buzz.

Ms. Le Pen was an early supporter of Mr. Trump and one of the first foreign politicians to congratulate him on his upset victory. She was spotted by reporters in the Trump Ice Cream Parlor with George Lombardi, an Italian businessman who lives in Trump Tower and has described himself as a contact between the president-elect and Europe’s conservative politicians.

Trump transition officials said there was no meeting scheduled between Ms. Le Pen and Mr. Trump, and Mr. Lombardi later confirmed for reporters that the two did not meet.

Ms. Le Pen, a leader of the National Front, topped recent polls in France’s presidential race. Ms. Le Pen and other conservative politicians in Europe have been emboldened by Mr. Trump’s win in the U.S. and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom.

Ms. Le Pen’s run as an anti-establishment candidate has mirrored Mr. Trump’s in many ways.

She has voiced support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for stricter immigration controls to fight radical Islamic terrorism. She also supports leaving the European Union unless France gets more control over its border and economic policies.

“We did not reach out to the Trump campaign. We did not reach out to Mr. Trump, even though he’s a friend of mine,” Mr. Lombardi told reporters in the lobby. “But I know very well his policy about not meeting foreign leaders and he had this policy all throughout his campaign. We know that, we respect that. We didn’t ask him to meet her, we didn’t go begging for any interview with anybody on the transition team because she was here to meet other people.”


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