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'I love France, I love your wine': Trump's bizarre first phone call with Hollande

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'I love France, I love your wine': Trump's bizarre first phone call with Hollande
Photo: AFP
14:53 CET+01:00
US president Donald Trump told France's former head of state François Hollande that he "loved France, French people and French wine" before asking for his help in a bizarre phone call shortly after being elected, a former Elysée aide has revealed.
The strange conversation between the pair was detailed in a new book by Gaspard Gantzer, an advisor to Hollande during his time in the Elysée Palace.
 
According to Gantzer, Trump called Hollande on November 11th last year two days after his shock election victory over Hillary Clinton.
 
When Hollande picked up the phone Trump said: "Mister President, I am delighted to talk to you. You are a great president, a great leader, a great man. It is such an honour."
 
Hollande is reportedly left in silence. Given he was used to hearing how he was France's most unpopular president in history, it's no surprise he was left stunned by Trump's eulogizing.
 
After a few seconds of silence the advisor says Trump started his ode to France.
 
"I love France, I love French people, I love your country, I love Paris, I love your wine, I love..." said Trump before Hollande cut him off.
 
"It was clear, Donald Trump was mocking us. He was taking us for idiots," wrote Gantzer. Trump's words were in contrast to those adopted during a campaign speech when he said: "I wouldn't go to France. France is no longer France."
 
 
Hollande then tried to steer the conversation towards more serious matters and listed a series of issues that the countries must work together on, such as the fight against terrorism, the war in Syria and Iraq, as well as putting the Paris climate deal into action.
 
Trump apparently responded: "Everything you want" before a long "yeaaaahhhh", Gantzer said. Trump has since signaled his intention to pull the US out of the Paris climate deal, much to the anger of Hollande's successor Emmanuel Macron.
 
The advisor said the conversation then took another bizarre twist when Trump asked Hollande for advice "three times" on who to include in his new government.
 
"You know my country. You know many great Americans. And you are one of the greatest leaders in the world, so let me ask you a question: could you help me with the recruiting of my new staff. I need recommendations."
 
Gantzer said that Trump "was making so much fun of them it became funny."
 
He said when Hollande had finally put the phone down, everyone in the room was aghast, not least the former French president. But he did not include what Hollande said.
 
The official report of the phone call was slightly different to Gantzer's account.
 
After the call the Elysée's press team announced the pair had "stressed their willingness to work together" and they had talked of the common issues their country's shared "to clarify their positions".
 
"They also stressed to each other the values the two countries have in common, the friendship between France and the United States."
 
Trump visited Paris in July when he was wined and dined by Macron at a top restaurant on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower before being the special guest at the Bastille Day parade on the Champs-Elysées.
 
 
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