WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his victory in France’s presidential election on Sunday.
Trump had backed neither Macron nor his far-right rival Marine Le Pen ahead of the vote’s second round.
“Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France,” he tweeted. “I look very much forward to working with him!”
However, Trump had earlier hinted that Le Pen should benefit from security fears in France.
Before the first round of the election last month, he said a deadly attack against a police officer in Paris would have a “big effect” on the vote and he praised Le Pen on immigration, calling her “the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”
The White House on Sunday also issued a formal statement congratulating “Macron and the people of France on their successful presidential election.”
“We look forward to working with the new president and continuing our close cooperation with the French government,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in the statement.
The prospect of a Le Pen victory had prompted serious concerns about a global right-wing, nationalist resurgence that brought Trump to power and saw Britain vote to leave the European Union last year.
Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama released a video statement last week backing Macron, a centrist who he said “appeals to people’s hopes and not their fears.”
Others weighed in on Macron’s victory on Sunday as well.
“Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron,” the Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted. “We look forward to working with him to build on the strong relationship between the US and France.
Hillary Clinton, who lost last year’s election to Trump, tweeted, “Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world.”
“Defeat to those interfering w/democracy. (But the media says I can’t talk about that),” she added, alluding to criticism of her view that Russian meddling in the election helped Trump win.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — who challenged Clinton’s wife Hillary for the Democratic nomination last year — tweeted “Congratulations to the people of France who today, by an overwhelming vote, rejected racism and xenophobia.”