'French Trump' takes a leaf from Donald's playbook by taking aim at journalists

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'French Trump' takes a leaf from Donald's playbook by taking aim at journalists - FRAT/
'French Trump' takes a leaf from Donald's playbook by taking aim at journalists - FRAT/

It was a tale of two Twitter images that led to a political and social media flare-up in France.

In one, Eric Zemmour, the far-Right pundit who polls suggest could reach the second round of French presidential elections, was filmed manhandling an Ultima Ratio - a gun used by France’s elite anti-terror RAID squads - to apparently make a point over how he feels about journalists.

"Intended for snipers, this weapon is designed to handle targets up to 800m depending on the configuration,” reads its website.

Mr Zemmour pointed the weapon in journalists’ direction during the Milipol “homeland and security” fair outside Paris.

Clearly not at home with weapon handling, he had to be shown where the trigger was and where to look. Once he had it in his hands, he swung the precision rifle in the direction of journalists, telling them to “move back”.

He later said it was a joke but the “humour” was lost on the Macron government, which said it was an affront to the freedom of the press.

'French Trump' takes a leaf from Donald's playbook by taking aim at journalists - Richard Ellis /Getty Images North America
'French Trump' takes a leaf from Donald's playbook by taking aim at journalists - Richard Ellis /Getty Images North America

It was a move worthy of his nickname as "the French Trump", though at least one commentator said not even the unpredictable former US president would have trained it on journalists even if he once said he wished he could "get rid of them".

While the throng around Mr Zemmour appeared to find the whole incident hilarious, and one CNews reporter present later said he "wasn't scared", French media picked up on the fact that his chief assistant, Sarah Knafo, was not amused.

Gala said she could clearly be seen beforehand mouthing the words: "Don't take it in your hands!" After she was also caught telling him: "We warn you, you don't listen".

Mr Zemmour dismissed her concerns, it said.

He then added fuel to the fire by posting on Twitter a picture of the Queen looking down the barrel of a gun.

This second Twitter scene dates back to 1993 and shows the Queen with Chief Instructor Lt-Col George Harvey, firing the last shot on a standard SA 80 rifle when she attended the centenary of the Army Rifle Association at Bisley.

Analysis: Eric Zemmour takes a leaf from Donald Trump's playbook by pointing a gun at journalists - Glenn Harvey /Camera Press
Analysis: Eric Zemmour takes a leaf from Donald Trump's playbook by pointing a gun at journalists - Glenn Harvey /Camera Press

While Mr Zemmour did no military service, the Queen is no stranger to firearms after becoming the first female member of the Royal family to become an active duty member of the British Armed Forces in 1945.

In 2019, a Channel 4 documentary revealed that she used a Tommy gun sent by Sir Winston Churchill to practice shooting Nazis.

The then Princess Elizabeth was trained to fire the weapon in Buckingham Palace Gardens at the height of the Second World War.

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