Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

French president brushes aside questions over affair

It was arguably the most important speech of François Hollande's presidency. His job approval remains at nearly the lowest level of any president in French history. His economic policies have failed to make major inroads in addressing chronic unemployment and persistent deficits. His Socialist Party is restive.

Then there was that other matter weighing on him: the revelation last week of his affair with actor Julie Gayet and the drama of France's brokenhearted first lady checking herself into a hospital, "in shock," according to her staff.

So after a long prelude in which he delivered a sober and detailed analysis of France's challenges and his proposals for addressing them, the questioning began at the Elysee Palace in Paris, and the first was on the affair and where it left his companion and official consort, Valerie Trierweiler.

"Everyone in his private life can go through difficult periods; these are difficult moments," Hollande responded. "But I have one principle: Private matters should be dealt with privately."

However, just seconds later it seemed obvious that much in his personal life had yet to be resolved. When the journalist who had asked the first question, Alain Barluet, the head of the Presidential Press Association, asked whether Trierweiler was still the first lady, Hollande was noncommittal. He said he would make clear who the first lady is before he leaves on a trip to Washington in a few weeks.

His responses will likely satisfy the French, said Pierre Haski, the top editor at Rue89, an online publication. "There was a kind of sincerity in his first statement," said Haski, adding: "Obviously anyone can be in his shoes and would be so embarrassed to have the dirty laundry of a couple in public. I don't think this will be analyzed as anything against him, to be honest."

French president brushes aside questions over affair 01/14/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB

    Bucs

    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]

  2. What you need to know for Thursday, June 29

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    See that thing in the water? No? That's the point. It's that time of the year when stingrays are often lurking in the sand, often not visibly. Remember to do the stingray shuffle if you're out at the beach this weekend. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  3. Pinellas beaches seeing fewer injuries from stingrays, but the summer is still young

    Environment

    FORT DE SOTO — Rebecca Glidden leaned back in her lifeguard chair, watching behind sunglasses as families splashed in the water at Fort De Soto's North Beach.

    A Clearwater water safety supervisor demonstrates the stingray shuffle. Pinellas beaches are reporting relatively few injuries from stingrays so far this year, but they anticipate more as the summer wears on. Officials are reminding beachgoers to do the shuffle when they enter the water and keep an eye out for purple flags flying from the lifeguard towers, which indicate stingray activity. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  4. Weeki Wachee River advocates agree to work to resolve issues

    Local Government

    WEEKI WACHEE — Degradation of the Weeki Wachee River is a complex mix of circumstances, with a variety of jurisdictions holding the authority to fix the problems. That has made finding solutions over the years more about frustration than success.

    A boat and kayak drift into one another as they share the narrow passage near Rogers Park on the Weeki Wachee River in March. Advocates fear too many vessels are damaging the river.
  5. Despite change in Cuba policy, cruise ships sail on

    Tourism

    TAMPA -- It's smooth sailing for cruises from Tampa to Havana, with the first of Carnival Cruise Line's 12 such excursions launching today, two months after Royal Caribbean's initial voyage from Port Tampa Bay to the island.

    The Empress of the Seas cruise ship docks at the Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 in Tampa. President Donald 

Trump's new Cuba policy may not hurt cruises to Havana at all. In fact, it may help these cruises. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times