White House chief of staff Ron Klain is drawing ridicule for suggesting there was hope for President Biden since French President Emmanuel Macron won re-election with a 36 percent approval rating.
Biden’s popularity stands at 40 percent — with 52 percent of Americans disapproving of his performance — according to a recent Morning Consult poll shared by Klain.
“An interesting observation, just FYI. President Macron appears to have secured a double-digit victory over LePen, at a time when his approval rating is 36%. Hmmm….” Klain tweeted Sunday.
Klain drew scorn from people who pointed out the differences between French and US politics, including the fact that US presidential elections are decided by the Electoral College, which gives more weight to small states, and that French presidents generally are very unpopular.
“This is pathetic. Why not strive for the support of the American people rather than celebrate the possibility of victory when your ratings are in the toilet? #noshame,” tweeted American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Danielle Pletka.
“[W]e are run by the most incompetent & snarky people,” wrote Abdullah Shihipar of the People, Place & Health Collective at the Brown University School of Public Health.
“File under: don’t try this at home, kids,” wrote columnist Jeet Heer of The Nation, a left-wing magazine.
Omri Ceren, an adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), wrote, “This is actually a little bit sad.”
Biden’s approval rating is just 40.9 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, and Republicans are favored to retake control of Congress in the midterm elections in November.
A Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll published March 29 found former President Donald Trump would beat Biden by 6 percentage points in a 2024 rematch. Trump would trounce Vice President Kamala Harris by an even wider 11-point margin, the poll found.
Many Twitter users pointed out that French people generally detest their leaders.
“A French president having a 36% approval rating is like an American president having an 88% approval rating,” wrote CNN journalist Andrew Kaczynski.
Matt Welch of the libertarian Reason magazine captioned Klain’s message, “When your job incentivizes you to demonstrate ignorance of basic French politics.”
Macron’s predecessor, former French President Francois Hollande, saw his approval rating hit 4 percent in 2016. He replaced Nicolas Sarkozy, whose rating hit 20 percent.
Klain found some support from pro-Democratic columnists including Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who wrote, “Macron, though widely disliked, successfully made the case that his opponent was a menace. Biden’s case would be even stronger. After all, Le Pen — gasp! — has actually conceded.”
Biden took office after winning the most votes of any candidate in a general election due to higher participation in an election widely seen as a referendum on Trump’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic. But his support in polls collapsed months into office.
Approval of Biden plunged following the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August. The public mood soured further as inflation hit four-decade highs — reaching 8.5 percent in March — as violent crime and illegal immigration spiked and the pandemic dragged on, nearing its millionth US death.
Macron’s unexpected 17 percentage point landslide against Marine Le Pen of the populist National Front was a rematch from 2017, when he defeated Le Pen by an even wider 32-point margin. The centrist Macron accused Le Pen of being too close to Russia, citing a defunct Russo-Czech bank’s loan to her political party. Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was a fringe far-right politician and Holocaust denier.