Emmanuel Macron has courted controversy by telling a French newspaper that his government wants to “piss off” the unvaccinated by banning them from venues such as restaurants and restricting their ability to travel.
Speaking to Le Parisien, the French president used the coarse expression “emmerder”, which comes from the word “merde” (meaning s***) and which can also be translated as “to make life difficult”.
In an interview that was published on Tuesday evening, Mr Macron said that his strategy was to make unjabbed people reconsider their decision by limiting their social lives “as much as possible”.
The comments prompted immediate outrage from his political opponents, with Christian Jacob, the leader of the conservative Les Republicans party, declaring that “a president cannot say such things”.
However, the French president is far from the only world leader to have used such coarse language.
Before he publicly renounced swearing, supposedly because God told him to stop, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte regularly used profanities. Perhaps his most infamous curse was when he called Barack Obama “a son of a w****” in 2016, leading the then US president to cancel a meeting between the pair.
French leader Nicolas Sarkozy was also guilty of a presidential slip of the tongue during a visit to the Salon de L’Agriculture in Paris in 2008. After a member of the public told him to go away, he retorted: “Sod off, you arseh***, get lost.”
The swear word caused an outcry in France, resulting in a half-baked apology from the Elysée Palace.
Across the Channel, Conservative prime minister John Major got himself into a spot of bother in 1993 after a television crew accidentally recorded him describing three Eurosceptic ministers as “bastards”.
US president Lyndon B Johnson is thought to have used much stronger language in 1965 in a discussion with the Greek ambassador about Cyprus, when he allegedly said: “F*** your parliament and your constitution.”
“America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If these two fellows continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant’s trunk, whacked good,” he is reported to have said.
And current US President Joe Biden is apparently partial to the f-word although he always makes sure to apologise when he curses around women, according to Politico. Mr Biden was famously caught on a live microphone in 2010 telling Mr Obama that the newly-passed Affordable Care Act was “a big f*cking deal”.
Returning to Mr Macron, it is not the first time the French president has sparked anger by using language deemed to be insulting.
Shortly after becoming finance minister in 2014, he called workers at a French slaughterhouse “illiterate” not long after about 900 employees had been sacked. Mr Macron later apologised for his remarks.
Source Link Macron in the merde as latest world leader to cause controversy by cursing