Marine le Pen put in a stellar performance on 60 Minutes on Sunday.
Le pen came across as very presidential. The interview, in French but translated, is sure to boost her standing in the French presidential election on May 7.
CBS has a transcript of the interview at Marine Le Pen Says She’s Not Waging a Religious War.
Anderson Cooper: The polls say you can’t win.
Marine Le Pen (translation): Yes. They also said that Brexit wasn’t going to happen, that Donald Trump wasn’t going to be elected, wasn’t even going to be his party’s nominee. Well, they’re saying that less and less now. They are much more cautious, much more cautious now.
Anderson Cooper: So how do you explain what is happening. Did leaders go too far?
Marine Le Pen (translation): Yes. Yes. Of course they’ve gone too far. Globalization has become an ideology with no constraints. And now, nations are forcing themselves back into the debate. Nations with borders we control, with people that we listen to, with real economies, not Wall Street economies, but rather factories and farmers. And this goes against this unregulated globalization, wild, savage globalization.
Anderson Cooper: Savage globalization?
Marine Le Pen (translation): Yes, Savage of course. Wild globalization has benefited some, but it’s been a catastrophe for most.
A catastrophe, she says, which has ravaged the French economy, as jobs have faded away and immigrants have flooded in, many of them Muslim immigrants, from North Africa who Le Pen says are draining resources, rejecting French values and transforming the culture.
Anderson Cooper: One of the concerns of many of your supporters is that immigration, current immigration is changing the character of France. It’s changing the spirit of the country?
Marine Le Pen (translation): It’s because of this massive immigration and more in some places, (that) France’s image has undeniably changed. There are a number of neighborhoods where you are no longer living a French life. That’s undeniable.
Anderson Cooper: Should Muslim people be allowed to wear headscarves?
Marine Le Pen (translation): No. I’m opposed to wearing headscarves in public places. That’s not France. There’s something I just don’t understand: the people who come to France, why would they want to change France, to live in France the same way they lived back home?
Anderson Cooper: Would a Sikh person allowed to be (SIC) wear a turban?
Marine Le Pen (translation): No, not in public. We don’t have a lot of Sikhs in France. We’ve got some. But we don’t really hear much from them or about them. Which is good news.
Anderson Cooper: There are many people in France who view your party as anti-Islamic, anti-Muslim?
Marine Le Pen (translation): I’m not waging a religious war. It’s clear that in France, everyone has the right to practice their religion, to worship as they choose. My war is against Islamic fundamentalism.
Anderson Cooper: There’s a lot of fear among some immigrants about
the idea of you becoming president.
Marine Le Pen (translation): I think a lot of people are trying to scare them. But in reality, they have nothing to fear. You know, people who behave need not worry. Foreigners in France who hold a job, who respect our laws, our codes, have absolutely nothing to worry about.
In a country with 10 percent unemployment, twice what it is in the U.S., Le Pen has built a stronghold in the Northern rustbelt, where factories have closed and jobs have disappeared.
While she may be a candidate of the far right, some of her policies come straight out of the playbook of the French left. She promises more government benefits and greater worker protections.
Anderson Cooper: When Donald Trump says, “Make America great again,” are you saying, “Make France great again?”
Marine Le Pen (translation): Yes, of course. I’ve been saying that for many years. We are a great nation, which has lot to offer to the world, but to offer something to the world France has to remain France.
She calls for a radical shift in the country’s foreign policy, vowing to renegotiate its membership in the European Union, or else leave altogether. A move that could result in the breakup of the EU. And just like President Trump, she’s questioned the role of NATO, and advocates closer ties with Russia.
Anderson Cooper: What is your admiration for Russia, for Vladimir Putin?
Marine Le Pen (translation): Look. I’m not a fan in a rock concert, you see. I am a political leader in a great nation of the world. What interests me are France’s interests.
Anderson Cooper: You don’t believe Russia’s a threat for Europe?
Marine Le Pen (translation): I don’t believe that at all. I think that’s a big scam.
Anderson Cooper: Invasion in Ukraine–
Anderson Cooper: Invasion of Crimea?
Marine Le Pen (translation): I’ll tell you what the danger is for Europe. It’s carrying out a cold war against Russia and pushing Russia into China’s arms. That’s the threat to Europe.
Anderson Cooper: You don’t think Vladimir Putin, though, is a killer, is a– is a– a threat to France, to others in this region?
Marine Le Pen (translation): No, I don’t believe it is so. Nothing Vladimir Putin has done would make me reach that conclusion.
Her views on Russia and Vladimir Putin have drawn scrutiny, particularly because three years ago, a Russian bank loaned her more than $11 million to fund her party.
Anderson Cooper: Your critics will say that that influences you in your opinion of Russia.
Marine Le Pen (translation): Why would it influence me? When you take out a loan, what’s your obligation other than paying it back? You have no other obligation. But if you know an American bank that wants to lend me money, by all means because I’m still looking for funds. Particularly since French banks, for political reasons, have refused to give us a loan to allow us to campaign.
That Russian loan and a widening probe into her party’s finances have not quieted the frenzy that now follows Marine Le Pen everywhere. With less than two months to go before the first votes are cast, she and her party are closer to power than ever.
Marine Le Pen: Vive les peuples, Vive la Republique! Vive la France!
Wow. Unlike Trump in the presidential debates, Le Pen did not fumble the ball once.
That does not mean you have to agree with her on every point. I don’t. Rather, it means she made no gaffs.
I strongly disagree with le Pen (and Trump) on globalization. But my opinion does not count.
Trump appealed to displaced blue collar workers and others who thought the pendulum swung too far in one direction.
Le Pen appeals to the same class of individuals. And unlike Trump, le Pen stayed with the message without making any policy mistakes, contradictions, silly statements, or sexist statements.
She also did well to purge her father from the party.
The latest French Polls show support for Republican candidate Francois Fillon has plunged.
Alain Juppé was knocked out of the Republican primary by Fillon, in a landslide.
However, some French pollsters now measure support for Juppé because Fillon promised to step aside if he came under formal proceedings for “Penelopegate”, paying his wife Penelope and his kids over €800,000 for doing nothing. The money came from parliamentary funds, fraudulently.
The formal investigation began, but François Fillon declares he has no intention of standing down.
That proves, among other things, Fillon is a liar. And his support has deservedly plunged.
With the Republican party splintering, and in light of a superb 60 Minute interview, le Pen has a great chance of becoming France’s next president.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock