Donald Trump has encouraged France’s far-right presidential candidate to continue with his campaign and “stay courageous”.
The former US president spoke to Eric Zemmour, telling him not to give in to pressure from the media, BFM TV reported citing sources from the French politician’s campaign team.
Mr Trump also told the leader of the Reconquete party that in order to win, he must never change his political line, and he should keep his authenticity, the news channel added.
The vice-chairman of Mr Zemmour’s campaign, Guillaume Peltier, confirmed the phone call took place on France 2 television.
He said: “Donald Trump told Eric Zemmour not to give in, hold firm, stay courageous,” adding that the call was held “after Donald Trump’s office responded positively to our various requests”.
Mr Zemmour, who is also a former French talk show commentator, has been convicted for inciting racial hatred on several occasions.
But he denies he is racist.
Zemmour told to keep his authenticity
Throughout his campaign, Mr Zemmour has tried to position himself as an outsider to traditional parties and the French political establishment – a move similar to Donald Trump in his 2016 US presidential run.
Instead, he has focused on his celebrity status and a large following on social media.
Read more: Far-right French presidential candidate convicted of inciting racial hatred over migrant children comments
Mr Zemmour is fourth in the opinion polls and is vying with Marine Le Pen from the Rassemblement National party for the far-right electorate.
Both candidates are hoping to beat President Emmanuel Macron in the election, which takes place in April.