U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he believes Thursday’s attack in Paris will “probably help” far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in France’s upcoming election.
Speaking with The Associated Press, Trump stressed that while he is not explicitly endorsing Le Pen, he believes she will be helped by the attack because she’s the candidate who is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”
One police officer was killed in Thursday night’s attack on the Champs Elysees, which was later claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group.
Trump told AP he believes the attack will impact how the French people vote in Sunday’s first round of voting in the presidential election. He added he’s not worried about emboldening terrorists by saying an attack can have an impact on a democratic election.
The outcome of France’s presidential election is being closely watched for signs that Europe is moving toward nationalist candidates who advocate the European Union’s dissolution. The top two candidates from Sunday’s vote in Paris will progress to a second round, which will take place on May 7.
Le Pen, a staunch nationalist and opponent of large-scale Muslim immigration to France, was widely expected to win one fifth to one quarter of the initial vote even before Thursday’s attack.
Just last week, Le Pen warned against “the mortal danger that fundamentalist Islam represents for our country”.
France has been rocked by a wave of deadly jihadist attacks which began on January 2015 and have killed more than 230 people, and remains on high alert.
Earlier this week, French security services arrested two men accused of plotting an attack.
Last month, French authorities arrested four members of a family as part of a preliminary investigation in connection with a plot to carry out an attack.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)