French far-right leader Marine Le Pen spotted at Trump Tower

Marine Le Pen, French far-right Front National (FN) party president, member of European Parliament and candidate in the French 2017 presidential elections, speaks during a New Year wishes ceremony to the media in Paris, France, January 4, 2017. 

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far right party the National Front, was at Trump Tower on Thursday -- but not, apparently, to meet with President-elect Donald Trump, according to Mr. Trump’s aides.

Le Pen, a candidate in this spring’s French presidential election who has campaigned on an anti-immigration, anti-European Union platform, was spotted having coffee in the basement of Trump Tower Thursday afternoon. Asked by reporters whether she would be meeting with Mr. Trump, Le Pen declined to answer.

However, Trump transition spokesman Sean Spicer said Le Pen will not meet with Mr. Trump or with anyone from his staff, noting that that Trump Tower is a public building and saying he did not know whether Le Pen was still on the premises.

“Trump tower is open to the public,” Spicer said.

Le Pen is, however, a big fan of Mr. Trump’s -- she was one of the first foreign leaders to congratulate him on Election Night in November. Le Pen has argued that Mr. Trump’s success is a sign that similar movements will be victorious at the ballot box across Europe.

“Today, the United States,” she tweeted that night. “Tomorrow, France. Bravo!”

Mr. Trump has spoken with French President Francois Hollande, but the pair have not met in person. Were Mr. Trump to meet with Le Pen, it would not be the first time he met with the leader of a country’s far-right party before meeting with the country’s actual leader.

In November, Mr. Trump met in person with the United Kingdom Independence Party’s Nigel Farage, the public face of the U.K.’s “Brexit” campaign to leave the European Union. He did so before he had met with the country’s prime minister, Theresa May -- a move that raised eyebrows in diplomatic circles.

Mr. Trump even floated Farage as a British ambassador to the U.S. at the time, saying in a November tweet that Farage would do a “great job” in the role and that “many people” would like to see him appointed to the job. However, May’s office in London replied: “There is no vacancy.”

  • Emily Schultheis

    Emily Schultheis is a reporter/editor for CBS News Digital.