U.S. academics silenced by the Trump administration should move their work to France, French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron hinted in a speech Saturday.
“This evening, I want to launch a formal appeal to all researchers, academics and businesses that are fighting for relevancy in the United States,” Macron, the former Socialist economy minister, told a crowd of thousands in Lyon.
“Today, and as of May,” when the run-off election is scheduled, “France will be your homeland.”
Without mentioning U.S. President Donald Trump’s name, Macron’s appeal takes a jab at the administration’s apparent hostility toward federal research. Since Trump took office, the Environmental Protection Agency has frozen its grant programs and implemented strict controls on communicating with the press and the public. It’s one of at least five federal agencies to receive some form of gag order in recent weeks.
Macron also took a jab at Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, telling the crowd that he has no plans to build any such thing. He compared it to the Maginot Line, France’s failed attempt to use a fortification to keep Nazis out of the country.
Polling shows that Macron, 39, has a solid chance of reaching the runoff, where he will likely square off against far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen, who has hailed Trump as a “sign of hope” for France in the battle against globalization.
While Macron, a former investment banker, has never held elected office, his message of unity has earned him comparisons to a young Barack Obama.