Cold, callous and scornful of the poor.
They are just some of the incendiary claims about Francois Hollande made in a bombshell book written by his discarded First Lady that has gone on sale today and left France and his presidency reeling.
‘Thank You For This Moment’ may be dismissed by some as the revenge of a woman scorned. But what about journalist Valerie Trierweiler’s claims that Socialist Hollande ridiculed the poor as “the toothless”?
One of her colleagues at Paris Match magazine, which published excerpts from the book on Wednesday, said:
“He has some reflections and jokes. Okay, it is humour but it will stay I’m afraid on his image and this is a pity because maybe Valerie shouldn’t have said this sort of thing.
“But obviously she wanted to say the truth and knowing her, I know that she is always saying the truth,” added Catherine Schwaab, editor-in-chief of the glossy magazine.
In that case, Trierweiler did take sleeping pills over the president’s affair with actress Julie Gayet and Hollande did try to win Trierweiler back with up to 29 text messages a day!
One man interviewed in Paris was unimpressed.
“The French people are living through an economic crisis,” said Bargache el Houcine.
“They are thinking about other things – work, working hours, purchasing power, their kids. The rest just helps pass the time.”
His allies have rushed to contain any damage to the head of state but this book is the last thing Hollande needs.
With the economy in a rut and near record unemployment, he is already the most unpopular president in France’s postwar history.