French- American Relations (#11)
 What the French do not understand about America...   The French and President Donald Trump

What the French do not understand at all in America and with Americans is often linked with the American view of morality in social life. Here are a few examples:

  • Inequality : the French are shocked by the level of economic inequality between Americans, as compared to Europe (see figures)

  • A society very hard on people : the most recent examples being the subprime crisis with million of people losing their house or a country tolerating million of people without healthcare : both unthinkable in France ; see my columns "sub-prime, stupidity and selfisfnes" and Socialized medicine? Give me a break.

  • The Prohibition : a moralizing constraint on everybody's life (which of course did not work... as anybody cynical would have predicted)

  • Native-Americans : excellent lecturers about colonialism or anti - semitism in other countries, Americans generally refuse to discuss this issue. Same comment about anti-Black racism.

  • Environment : the USA not signing the Kyoto protocol, when they are among the largest polluters (3 times more CO2 per inhabitant than the French : see detailed figures and page environment)

  • A certain form of naivety, like for instance believing the story of massive destruction weapons in Iraq ...

  • Violence and the number of firearms owned by Americans (see my column).

 
  • The French were genuinely surprised by the election of Donald Trump. He does not correspond to the image the French have of a head of State : too vulgar and rude, enjoying anything flashy and dumb shows, uncultured and using a limited vocabulary , too rich and too show-off, mixing his public life with his private life, etc. The two previous French presidents, who were like him (to a much lesser extent), Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, had the worst popularity rates ever and were not re-elected or did not run.

  • All over Europe, the reactions to his election were very negative and a comparative poll (January 2017) found that negative opinions about Trump scored more than 80% everywhere except the UK, with France and Germany particularly high.

  • The only political parties which expressed a positive appreciation of the newly elected US administration were the populist parties : Front National (FN) in France, Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) in Germany, Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) in Italy, Partij voor de Vrijheid (PPV) in the Netherlands, Freiheidliche Partei Osterreichs (FPO) in Austria, etc.

  • Among Donald Trump's statements and decisions which were the most ill-received in France :

    • his constant support of Brexit and his interview with The Times (Jan.15, 2017) saying that other EU countries should follow the example of the UK
    • repealing Obamacare, when millions of Americans having nohealth place is something the French do not underestand about the US
    • More to come...
  • this page is under construction
   

 

To related pages : History 101 (#1), more French history (#3), the Gallic background (#4) and French revolutions (#5), American firms in France, etc.

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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