Trump tells French far-right hopeful to 'hang in there'
Former US president Donald Trump has told French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour to "hang in there" in his campaign for the April election, Zemmour's spokesman said on Tuesday.
In a 40-minute phone conversation, Trump advised Zemmour to "stand his ground, hang in there and keep his spirits up", spokesman Guillaume Peltier told the France 2 broadcaster.
Zemmour is currently polling at 14 percent of first-round voting intentions, according to a poll by Ipsos, neck-and-neck with rival far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
The poll put incumbent President Emmanuel Macron in the lead with 24 percent, followed by right-wing contender Valerie Pecresse with 16.5 percent.
In a statement, Zemmour's team said the call with Trump on Monday had been "long and friendly" and had covered migration, security and economic issues in both countries.
"They're both pushing for the same thing -- Donald Trump wants the US to remain the US, and Eric Zemmour wants France to remain France," the statement said.
The former US president, who was defeated by Joe Biden in 2020, told Zemmour, "tenacity and stamina" would pay off, Peltier said.
He said Zemmour's team had approached Trump's staff several times and had been "very pleased to take that call".
There would be further exchanges with "a number of personalities" over the coming weeks.
"It's very clear to everybody that the duel emerging in France is between Emmanuel Macron and Eric Zemmour," Peltier said.
Zemmour recently called for the European Union to build a wall along "all its borders" to keep out immigrants, apparently inspired by Trump's project, never realised, to build a wall on the US border with Mexico.
The cover of Zemmour's latest book has drawn comparisons with a Trump campaign poster.