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article imageAnother French President shows up solo to Washington

By Jeffrey Nelson     Feb 12, 2014 in Politics
Washington - French President Francois Hollande showed up solo on his recent state visit to Washington, DC. Hollande and his partner of seven years have recently fallen on some hard times after an alleged affair by the president.
Hollande's plummeting popularity in France is now being further fueled by whispers of an affair between him and a young actress named Julie Gayet; taking its toll as well on the relationship with his partner of seven years, Valerie Trierweiler.
Trierweiler, giving some credit to the allegations that Mr. Hollande did indeed stray, canceled the trip to come with her partner to the state visit; a long-held tradition in Washington. It is customary to seat the wife of the visiting party at the US president's side; a seat that will now be vacant due to the last-minute cancellation.
Hollande's claim that his "personal life is personal" is more of a pipe dream than a reality in the current age of worldwide digital media, however he has yet to publicly admit to any alleged wrongdoing. What he cannot hide, however, is his political record.
Hollande was elected in 2012 on a socialist-leaning platform that wanted to lower the retirement age in France, which he did, as well as several other ideas that were very popular among France's younger generation. That being said, the current state of the French economy is not favoring the President and his political numbers reflect that.
This isn't the first President to show up solo in Washington due to marital issues back home. In 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife at the time was a no-show to a barbecue at the Bush residence amid a marital scandal that was ultimately the end of their relationship.
Mr. Hollande is not alone, and in fact, is in good company. While Barack Obama has always been a stand-up family man, his current political career is on the rocks as well due to domestic and foreign policy. As one writer so eloquently put it, "Obama and Hollande are in the midst of a diplomatic bromance as they face international challenges that include the Syrian civil war, Iran's nuclear ambitions and economic malaise in Europe."
With all of the important global issues of the day, it's unfortunate, and somewhat ironic, that the stereotype of the philandering Frenchman is perpetuated as the very serious issues of the day fall to page two.
Cancellations of state visits are not entirely common, however they have happened several times in the past. The most notable cancellation was by Dilma Rousseff, the President of Brazil; a South American country famous for a giant statue of Jesus known as Christ the Redeemer.
Rousseff cancelled her state visit after the controversial Edward Snowden leaked documents showed that Washington had spied on her and the people of her country in what was almost certainly a political move.
The real burning question is: Who will be the third wheel? Will it be Michelle Obama or Mr. Hollande?
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