“I really want to piss off the unvaccinated,” French President Emmanuel Macron, drawing widespread condemnation for his choice of language.
In an interview with Le Parisien, he said that la bêtise (“stupidity”) was the “worst enemy of democracy”.
It is not the first time that the leader has used fruity language since being elected.
He has variously described the French as fainéants (lazy), les gens qui ne sont rien (people who are nothing), and Gaulois réfractaires (Gauls who are resistant to change). During a visit to a factory, he once said that protestors outside of a factory should go to work rather than foutre le bordel (“fuck things up” – or literally, “fuck up the brothel”).
Serving as the Economy Minister under the presidency of François Hollande, he said “there were lots of illiterate people” during a visit to an abattoir.
“In a certain way, we are like prostitutes: this job is about seducing,” told the Wall Street Journal in 2015, describing his former job as a banker.
Les non-vaccinés, j’ai très envie de les emmerder – “I really want to piss off the unvaccinated
Other French leaders have dished out their fair share of provocative statements – some more discretely than others.
Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande, allegedly referred to the protesters and poor people as sans dents (toothless people). The revelation came after his 2017 election defeat and was disclosed by his ex-partner, Valérie Trierweiler – although we should probably point that she wasn’t exactly his biggest fan after he was caught having an affair with an actress while they were together.
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Nicolas Sarkozy, who served as president from 2007-12 is perhaps the most prolific French head of state when it comes to outrageous language.
During a visit to the 2008 Salon de l’Agriculture, he was shaking hands with people in the crowd.
One man told him Ah non, touche-moi pas! Tu me salis! (No, don’t touch me! You disgust me!).
The President replied Eh ben casse-toi alors, pauv’ con ! (Well fuck off then, asshole).
Sarkozy described Hollande as an amateur, mal fagoté (shabbily dressed) and un président ridicule (a ridiculous president). He said of his own party that they were tous des cons (all idiots). He described Marine Le Pen as une hommasse (mannish/butch), Xavier Bertrand as un médiocre and François Fillon (who served as Prime Minister during Sarkozy’s presidency) as un loser.
As Interior Minister, Sarkozy described the residents of Argenteuil as racaille (scum) after a visit to the Parisian suburb saw his convoy ambushed by people throwing objects from tower block.
Jacques Chirac is best known internationally for his opposition to the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
While he may have been reluctant to launch military attacks, verbal assaults were his strong point.
Before becoming President, he served as Prime Minister where he met with Margaret Thatcher at a European summit. After a disagreement, he told reporters: Mais qu’est-ce qu’elle veut en plus cette ménagère? Mes couilles sur un plateau? (What does this housewife want? My balls on a plate?)
Other highlights include:
Les emmerdes, ça vole toujours en escadrille – Shits always fly together
Les sondages, ça va ça vient, c’est comme la queue d’un chien – Polls come and go, like a dog’s cock
On greffe de tout aujourd’hui, des reins, des bras, un cœur. Sauf les couilles. Par manque de donneur – We transplant everything today, kidneys, arms, a heart. But not balls – because of a lack of donors.
For a much longer list of Chirac’s insults, gaffes and hot-mic moments, click HERE.
Charles de Gaulle
As the founding father of the fifth republic, it would be wrong not to include Charles de Gaulle on this prestigious list.
In 1968 the president used the word chienlit to describe the social disorder around the 1968 student uprisings. It translates as “shitting in your own bed”.
Er, De Gaulle opened a cabinet meeting by calling the May '68 student uprising "la chienlit" (shitting in your own bed) and his prime minister in 1966, Pompidou, pioneered the presidential use of "emmerder" (piss off).
My hunch is Macron will get a small poll bump from this https://t.co/Um50x61KWa
— Sophie Pedder (@PedderSophie) January 7, 2022
Adored by many, he also uttered some fairly contemptuous words about his countrymen, saying Les Français sont des veaux – The French are calves (suggesting weak, easily led)
Macron is something of a fan of De Gaulle, even including one of the General’s books in the background of his official portrait, so perhaps he is also emulating his language?
Georges Clemenceau was the Prime Minister of France during the latter part of WWI. He was known to have a difficult relationship with his British counterpart, David Llyod George. He once said je pouvais pisser comme il parle (I could piss when he speaks).
Clemenceau described one of his political rivals, the pacifist Jean Jaurès, as a “dangerous imbecile”.
Napoleon Bonaparte was betrayed by one of his ministers, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, who sold state secrets to France’s enemies.
After finding out, Napoleon reportedly said Vous êtes de la merde dans un bas de soie! (You are shit at the bottom of a silk stocking).
Coincidentally, Talleyrand is the man credited with popularising escargots in France.