Trump expresses support for French candidate Le Pen

President Donald Trump expressed support for far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, but stopped short of a complete endorsement.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Trump said although he was not offering an endorsement, he thinks Le Pen is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”

Le Pen and independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron are the two leading candidates, with center-right candidate Francios Fillon and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon also in contention. The top two finishers will face off in a May runoff.

Trump had also weighed in on the election Friday morning on Twitter. Trump said he believed the Thursday attack in Paris, which left a Paris police officer dead and which ISIS has claimed responsibility for, would affect the election. In the interview with AP, Trump added that he thought the attack will “probably help” Le Pen.

Earlier on Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump didn’t have a preference in the election.

Le Pen has put terrorism, immigration and criticism of the European Union at the center of her campaign. She was spotted in Trump Tower in January and is supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Critics of her campaign have accused her of xenophobia, a familiar critique of Trump.

Former President Barack Obama has also weighed in on the race, taking a call from Macron but not making an endorsement.

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