Paris, France. The big story that seems to keep eclipsing both Macron and Le Pen is another woman that is not on the ballot, Macron’s wife Brigitte. The woman who is about to become first lady of France is Macron’s former high school teacher, 25 years older than him and raising serious questions about Macron’s stability, judgement and character as the final round of election 2017 becomes a “Macron mommy complex” as one reporter put it.
Should Emmanuel Macron makes it to the Presidency, he will be France’s youngest leader since Napoleon and, to many, “France’s answer to JFK”. Beside him will be the woman who has been his greatest champion since he was a 14 year old schoolboy: his wife and former teacher Brigitte Trogneux.
Last Sunday night Brigette Trogneux was on stage again in Paris, blowing kisses to a roaring crowd, as it was announced that her husband-often mistaken as her son,some 25 years her junior, and leader of France’s progressive En Marche movement had beaten the country’s two long-established main parties to join Marine Le Pen in the final round of the French presidential elections.
The Hollywood version is pretty damning, given Brigitte divorced the father of her three children to be with Macron, 25 years younger and a minor child when they first met. In the USA, this would have stopped Macron dead in his tracks, much less the fact he’s never served in any elected office previously and may be behind France’s nuclear button, having never even worked as a dog catcher. But in modern France, moral choices seldom have any consequences.
The French press has historically given a free pass to the private lives of its leaders. Former president Francois Mitterrand had an affair for 32 years, which produced an illegitimate daughter, but such matters were written about in French newspapers only after his death. The current president Hollande parted ways with his mistress and de facto first lady Valerie Trierweiler, in 2014 after it was revealed that he had also been having an affair with Julie Gayet, an actress 18 years his junior.
The couple have, nevertheless, managed to pique the interest of the French press this time around. Mme Trogneux gave a somewhat regrettable interview last year in which she disclosed her relationship was illict early on. She was quoted saying: “At the age of 17, Emmanuel said to me: ‘Whatever you do, I will marry you!'”
The interview sent the Macron camp into emergency damage control mode, with Macron saying: “My wife doesn’t understand the media. She regrets it profoundly, “It was a mistake, a mistake we both made. My relationship, my family, it’s what I care about the most, there is no strategy to exhibit them, it is without a doubt a blunder. I take full responsibility and it won’t be something we will be repeating.”
Internationally there is more interest in their strange, perverse attraction than the fact Macron will be “commander clueless” a 39 year old man with a lifelong mommy complex suddenly in control of nuclear weapons. The important aspect is this reflects the nature of France’s voters who are suddenly focused, as is the world on a guy who loves his mommy in ways we don’t want to know, than on a dangerous world and his ability to help lead his nation in it. Important given “mommy’s boy” has already pledged French troops to invade Syria, should he be elected.