The president of our oldest ally will be honored at White House state dinner this evening and all the press worries about is who will fill the seat that was supposed to be occupied by Valerie Trierweiler, Francois Hollande’s former partner.
As the world knows, France’s leader cheated on his ex, riding his scooter to the Paris apartment of a 41-year-old actress. News of the tryst triggered a brief hospitalization of stricken Valerie, 48, and then splitsville for the former lovebirds.
To the relief of White House planners, Hollande, 59, is touring the U.S. stag. That should have been the end of it. A joint appearance of Hollande and new beau Julie Gayet would have been a tad awkward.
Predictably, American coverage of Hollande’s Washington soiree tilts heavily toward the White House “scramble” to issue new engraved invites, now that Trierweiller’s name has been purged from the honored guess list.
That focus and accompanying recap of the French soap opera cheapens the importance of the visit. After all, if the White House can’t manage to pull off the replacement invites, simple America is in very, very poor shape.
There are plenty of important issues that need to be discussed between France and the U.S. Syria’s collapse, Iran’s nuclear program, military intervention in the terrorist-besieged former French colonies in Africa and negotiation of the U.S./Europe free trade deal, come to mind. One White House official summed it up nicely, saying. “We’ve come a long way from ‘freedom fries’,’” days of George W. Bush. The media should pick up on the renewed ties.
The French have supported their philandering leader, who fathered four children with ex-presidential candidate Segolene Royal before dumping her for Trierweiler.
Hollande’s approval rating, which plummeted to 26 percent in October, an all-time low for a French head of state, is now up to a still dreary 31 percent.
Amid swirling rumors of infidelity, Hollande on Jan. 24 visited the Vatican and had a private meeting with Pope Francis to discuss war & peace in the Middle East and persecution of Christians. Hollande’s PR reward was a photo of him shaking hands with the rock star pontiff.
U.S. media coverage of Franco-American ties, rather than whom Hollande is sleeping with, would benefit both countries and the rest of the world.