Barack Obama made his first big political endorsement since leaving office, wading into the hotly contested French election on Thursday to endorse Emmanuel Macron.
In a taped video shared by a Macron spokeswoman on Twitter, Obama said, “the French election is very important to the future of France and the values that we care so much about, because the success of France matters to the entire world.”
Expressing his admiration for Macron’s campaign, Obama said, “he put forward a vision for the important role France plays in Europe and around the world… He appeals to people’s hopes, not their fears.”
Obama’s endorsement comes the morning after a highly contentious debate between Macron and his opponent, Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front party. During the debate, Le Pen referred to Macron as a “smirking banker” with an eye on “butchering France,” while Macron called Le Pen “hate-filled” and intent on bringing “civil war” to the country.
It’s not the first time Obama has let his voice be heard in a major European referendum. He came out strongly opposed to last summer’s Brexit vote (and we know how that turned out). But it’s the first time he’s done so since his time as president has ended.
And we’re now full-circle from the movement earlier in the year to draft Obama to be France’s next president.
That won’t happen, but we only have to wait a few more days to see who will be France’s next president as the country goes to the polls on Sunday, May 7.