President Biden said Monday that French President Emmanuel Macron didn’t come to the phone Sunday when he called to congratulate him on his landslide re-election.
Biden said he spoke with Macron’s staff instead as the French president partied at the Eiffel Tower — and that he’d try again Monday.
“I feel good about the French election,” Biden said as he returned to DC from a weekend trip home to Delaware, according to a pool report. “I tried to talk to him last night. I spoke to his staff and he was at the Eiffel Tower having a good time. And I’m going to be talking to him today.”
Presidential calls to foreign leaders typically are arranged by White House staff to avoid unscripted or embarrassing moments for the leader of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful country.
Macron’s victory was touted by White House chief of staff Ron Klain on Twitter as reason for Democrats to feel hopeful ahead of this year’s midterm elections, which Republicans are favored to win.
Klain noted that Macron won despite a 36 percent approval rating — versus Biden’s 40 percent approval. But commentators pointed out that the French generally give their presidents much lower marks in polls than US voters do.
It’s not the first time a foreign leader spurned Biden’s outreach. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan declined to speak with Biden about boosting oil exports to offset price hikes linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.