(JTA) — President Trump said Friday that an attack that killed a police officer in Paris would “probably help” French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen since she is “strongest on borders.”
Trump told the Associated Press that he was not explicitly endorsing Le Pen, but that he believed the Thursday attack would likely boost support for her. The Islamic State took responsibility for the attack, during which a gunman killed one police officer and wounded two others.
“She’s the strongest on borders and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France,” Trump said. “Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election.”
Le Pen is polling just behind centrist frontrunner Emmanuel Macron. The top two vote-getters in Sunday’s election will proceed to a second ballot in May.
Many French Jews are deeply worried about Le Pen and her National Front party, which advocates pulling out of the European Union and imposing limitations on religious freedoms.
Le Pen has tried to distance her party’s image from the open racism of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who previously led the party and whom she kicked out in 2015.
However, earlier this month she drew fire for saying that her country is not responsible for the deportation of thousands of Jews to death camps in 1942.