Emmanuel Macron trounced Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election a few weeks ago, and he’s making his mark across the globe already. His G7 bromance with Justin Trudeau caused social media to lose it last week, so he’s clearly making friends. Yet Macron’s not afraid to go up against the not-so-friendly types, which is why he pulled off a “not innocent” handshake with President Trump to ward off an Alpha-Omega relationship. And on Monday, Macron hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at Versailles Palace. As you can see in the above BBC video, Macron continued to hold his own in the handshake department at the beginning of a frosty, two-hour meeting.
A tense atmosphere was, of course, to be expected after NSA Chief Mike Rogers confirmed that Russia was behind what Macron claimed was a massive email hack of his campaign. At 1:15 in the above video, Macron used the pair’s joint press conference to call out Russia’s state-run media outlets as “organs of influence” that spread fake news during the French election:
“I will not give an inch on this. During the campaign, Russia Today and Sputnik were [organs] of influence which on several occasions spread fake news about me personally and my campaign.”
The New York Times confirms that Macron trashed the Russian propaganda outlets, which he says are not examples of true journalism. In response, Putin appeared to deny that Russian hackers targeted the French election (“that would have been impossible”), and he insisted that there was “nothing to discuss” regarding other foreign elections and hacking.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation further reports that Putin defensively said (of the French election), “Do you think that we are ignorant of the results of the elections? We’re not kids, we’re not children.” Yet Macron stood firm, and he also warned Russia against supporting further chemical attacks by the Assad regime in Syria. As Macron put it, this will be considered a “red line” for France: “The use of chemical weapons by anyone will be the object of reprisals and immediate retaliation on the part of France.”
Following the public dressing down, however, Macron reportedly expressed interest in working with Russia to solve the Syrian crisis. Macron said this of his “frank” exchange with Putin: “We have disagreements, but at least we talked about them.” And on a related note, you are cordially invited to try and make sense out of this early-morning Trump tweet.