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PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - French president Emmanuel Macron has come under fire after he used vulgar and divisive language when explaining his plan to make life extremely difficult for the unvaccinated.
Macron's remarks came in the midst of a parliamentary debate over the implementation of COVID passes. In an interview with Le Parisien newspaper, Macron said, "I am not about pissing off the French people. But as for the non-vaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And we will continue to do this to the end. This is the strategy."
Macron's remarks have received stark criticism, both from political opponents in France and political commentators internationally. Damien Abad of France's center-right Republicans party (Les Républicains) labeled Macron's remarks "unworthy, irresponsible and premeditated," and said they showed "childish cynicism." The party's leader, Christian Jacob, said the party "refused to endorse a text which aims to piss off the French."
French lawmakers were set to pass a bill earlier this week that would establish COVID passports in the country (which could be required for admittance into restaurants, bars, cultural venues and interregional public transport). The bill's approval was initially postponed after some lawmakers received death threats. But it ultimately passed on Thursday. The mandate applies to anyone over the age of 12.
The legislation was touted by Macron, who believes the best way to encourage the unvaccinated to get the jab is by "limiting, as much as possible, their access to activities in social life."
"I won't send [unvaccinated people] to prison," Macron stipulated. However, he quickly made clear that he has other coercive measures in mind:
We need to tell them, from Jan. 15, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theater. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.
With Macron facing reelection in May, his top challenger, Republicans candidate Valérie Pécresse, attacked him over his comments, saying, "It's not up to the president of the Republic to pick out good and bad French people."
Another one of his challengers, Marine Le Pen, commented, "A president should not say that," and then accused Macron of trying to make the unvaccinated second-class citizens. Even far-left French political commentator Jean-Luc Mélenchon called Macron's vaccination plan "collective punishment against individual freedom."
Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon ripped into Macron, saying, "Macron is the ultimate soy boy: childless, married to his mother, with obvious issues about his masculinity — the perfect example of the 'Davos man,' who wants to strip citizenship from the bravest of France."
Friday morning, the French president doubled down on his remarks, declaring that he "stands by" his earlier comments. He also said he will use the authorities to "protect" the 90% of French citizens that are vaccinated. France is reportedly facing a surge in COVID, averaging 200,000 new cases of COVID-19 daily, which is an all-time high.