The fact that President Donald Trump is 24 years older than his wife and now first lady Melania never seemed to make too much of an impression on the American public, which isn't too much of a surprise given that the country's favorite movie star, now 42, still only dates women who are under 25. The fact that the French first lady Brigitte Macron is 24 years older than her husband, France's president Emmanuel Macron, has, on the other hand, been the subject of endless fascination and scrutiny.
Earlier this year, Emmanuel did not hold back in calling out this double standard, while Brigitte didn't deign to address it until this month: "We have breakfast together—me and my wrinkles, him with his youth," she quipped to French Elle.
The 64-year-old's laissez-faire attitude may come as a surprise, especially to the American public, but the fact that the Macron administration has a "flamboyant" makeup budget should not. Except it's not Brigitte who's responsible for spending 26,000 euros in the past three months, but her 39-year-old husband: The expenses filed by a local makeup artist were entirely attributed to Emmanuel, apparently evidencing that her husband's "youth" comes with a price.
Luckily, his administration is standing by him: Emmanuel's aides immediately came clean and insisted there was—no pun intended—no cover-up when it came to the expenses, and that the makeup artist who billed him, who goes by Natacha M, was called in as "a matter of urgency," according to reports. They also promised to "significantly reduce" the expenses going forward. "The sum covers various services including press conferences and foreign trips where the person concerned has to travel with him,” an Elysée official said, admitting that the bill was “high…but less than his predecessor’s.”
The official is definitely right on that count: France's preceding president, François Hollande, had a personal hairdresser that was on contract for nearly €10,000 a month, a sum he paid for with public funds, which earned him the scorn of the French, who engineered endless memes and referred to the scandal as coiffeurgate. As for Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy? He reportedly spent €8,000 a month on his own makeup routine.
In other words, comparatively, Emmanuel isn't doing too bad—especially since he learned of the outcry after returning from what may have been the shortest presidential holiday in French history. And, in any case, the Frenchies may be on to something: After all, a politician can only aspire to the wild popularity of the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which has no doubt been aided by his boyish handsomeness. (Sean Spicer, for one, was known to do his own makeup while in office; you may have noticed that he's also currently unemployed.)
Still, according to Emmanuel's aides, anyway, he isn't making a habit of his routine. And while there's no word exactly on when some of those so-called urgent matters took place, if one of the bills happened to date back to the end of the July, it's definitely justifiable. Who can blame him for trying to look his best when taking personal meetings with Rihanna?
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