President Donald Trump predicted Friday morning that a shooting on Paris’ famous Champs Elysées “will have a big effect on presidential election” in France, voting for which begins on Sunday.
Thursday night in Paris, gunman opened fire on police officers, killing one and injuring two others. The gunman then fled and was killed by another police officer in a shootout that also hit a foreign tourist. French President Francois Hollande said the shooting was “likely terrorist-related” and the Islamic State claimed credit for the attack after it occurred.
“Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
The U.S. president has not officially backed a candidate in the French election, but far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is widely seen as holding views, especially on immigration and terrorism, that are close to Trump’s. Le Pen, one of the election’s frontrunners who spoke Thursday of her “anger” following the attack and insisted that France possesses “the means to defend itself,” met with Trump in his Manhattan skyscraper during the transition period.
Emmanuel Macron, a center-left candidate who made public on Thursday excerpts of his telephone conversation with former U.S. President Barack Obama, said after the shooting that “to preside is to protect.” He, along with Le Pen and conservative candidate François Fillon are seen are the top three candidates heading into this weekend’s election.
Friday’s post is not the first time that Trump has used Twitter to respond to news of a terrorist attack in France. Early in the presidential race, Trump blamed France’s strict gun control laws for a coordinated Islamic State terrorist attack in Paris and its suburbs against multiple targets that left 137 people dead. The attack also prompted Trump to call for surveillance, and potentially the closure of, some Mosques.
Last July, Trump delayed his announcement of Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate because of an attack in Nice, France, on Bastille Day that left dozens of people dead. And in February, Trump wrote on Twitter that it was time for the U.S. to "get smart" after a man wielding two machetes attacked French soldiers near the Louvre Museum in Paris.