With salty language, Macron berates France’s unvaccinated


FILE - <a class=French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech at a press conference on France assuming the EU Presidency on Thursday, December 9, 2021 in Paris. President Emmanuel Macron has sparked outcry in Parliament and sharp protests from his electoral rivals by using vulgarity to describe his strategy to pressure vaccine refusals to obtain coronavirus vaccines. (Ludovic Marin / Pool Photo via AP, File)” title=”FILE – French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech at a press conference on France assuming the EU Presidency on Thursday, December 9, 2021 in Paris. President Emmanuel Macron has sparked outcry in Parliament and sharp protests from his electoral rivals by using vulgarity to describe his strategy to pressure vaccine refusals to obtain coronavirus vaccines. (Ludovic Marin / Pool Photo via AP, File)” loading=”lazy”/>

FILE – French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech at a press conference on France assuming the EU Presidency on Thursday, December 9, 2021 in Paris. President Emmanuel Macron has sparked outcry in Parliament and sharp protests from his electoral rivals by using vulgarity to describe his strategy to pressure vaccine refusals to obtain coronavirus vaccines. (Ludovic Marin / Pool Photo via AP, File)

PA

French President Emmanuel Macron burst into the presidential race with an explosive remark about the country’s unvaccinated minority – in an apparent effort to win the support of majority voters, but at the risk of widening divisions on the issue.

Macron used vulgarity to describe his strategy for lobbying vaccine refusals to obtain coronavirus vaccines. In an interview published Tuesday evening by Le Parisien newspaper, he used the word “piss off”, rooted in the French word for “shit” and meaning to annoy or annoy. His salty language dominated the television news Wednesday.

“The unvaccinated, I really want to annoy them. And so we will continue to do it, until the end. This is the strategy, ”he said during an interview at the presidential Elysee Palace with a panel of his readers.

The 44-year-old centrist outspoken president has also expressed his desire to run in the April presidential elections. Yet he said he is still waiting to officially declare his candidacy as he wants to focus on the pandemic first.

Macron’s comments come as lawmakers passionately debate new measures that would allow only vaccinated people to enjoy leisure activities such as dining out. More than 91% of adults in France are fully vaccinated.

Macron’s objective is “to attract all the attention” and “to make his suitors disappear, on the Trump model,” tweeted political communication expert Philippe Moreau Chevrolet.

It’s also a way of pointing fingers at people who haven’t been vaccinated as being responsible for the situation – instead of being held responsible for the record number of infections himself, Moreau Chevrolet said.

Journalist Frédéric Says, a keen observer of French politics, told France Culture radio that it seems likely that Macron wants to “capitalize” on the exasperation expressed by many French voters. Macron was responding to a question from a woman expressing outrage over the cancellation of scheduled surgeries for vaccinated people as unvaccinated patients occupy most beds in intensive care units.

Commentators noted that the remark appeared to be even more surprising only three weeks after Macron expressed regret for hurting people’s feelings with certain comments.

“There are words that can hurt and I think it is never right … Respect is part of political life,” he said on national television.

During his tenure, Macron upset many when he told an unemployed person that he only had to ‘cross the street’ to find work. Or when he told retirees with small pensions to stop complaining. And when he suggested that some French workers are “lazy”.

In recent months, France has seen weekly street protests against virus restrictions and vaccine requirements.

Macron supporters have suggested the president was simply saying out loud what some vaccinated people already thought about the unvaccinated, in a country with bitter divisions on the issue.

“Let’s talk frankly. Who is disturbing whose life today? Who ruins the lives of our health personnel who have been mobilized for two years … in our intensive care units to save patients who today are mostly not vaccinated? These are the ones who oppose the vaccine, ”said government spokesman Gabriel Attal.

“To put it clearly … The words of the President of the Republic seem to me to fall far short of the anger of a very large majority of French people” against unvaccinated people, he said.

A government official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly that “this is the style of the president.” He’s always been very straightforward. “

Lawmakers in parliament are debating the government’s planned new vaccine pass this week.

The measure will exclude unvaccinated people from places such as restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums and sports arenas. The pass will also be required on interregional trains and buses, as well as on domestic flights.

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who opposed the vaccine pass proposal, said the president wanted “to wage war against part of the French”.

Another far-right candidate, Eric Zemmour, accused Macron of “cruelty”. On the far left, presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon asked: “Does the president control what he says?”

France reported a record 271,686 cases of the virus per day on Tuesday as omicron infections escalate across the country, weighing on hospital staff and threatening to disrupt transport, schools and other services.

Macron’s government is working to avoid another economically damaging lockdown that could hurt his re-election prospects. Instead, ministers are trying to rush the vaccine pass bill through parliament in the hopes that it will be enough to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed.

More than 20,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in France, a number that has been rising steadily for weeks but not as sharply as the country’s infection rates.

COVID-19 patients occupy more than 72% of intensive care beds in France, and its once famous healthcare system is once again showing signs of strain.

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John Leicester has contributed to this report from Le Pecq.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic


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