French politician takes on Boris Johnson’s nickname for Emmanuel Macron

A French politician has made headlines with a harsh response to Boris Johnson’s “quitter” nickname for French President Emmanuel Macron: She says it is a metaphor for a politician with a “big mouth.”

Gérard Grunynck, a candidate for the June 18th municipal elections in the Calais region, was interviewed in French by a newspaper there, Le Parisien. The interview was published on Wednesday. Grunynck also acknowledged it was the first time he’d engaged in an open discussion.

“It’s a typical French politician who tries to bully the other side and then steals their badge,” Grunynck said in a translated copy of the interview. “You can say it’s a metaphor and tell the French he should grow up and behave. But the example of Boris Johnson is something that goes beyond the limits of language. … It’s an extremely crude jibe against the candidate.”

Grunynck did say, though, that he took issue with both the “nein” and “voilà” options in Johnson’s term, taking the equivalent “nein” meaning “down with the system,” and the “voilà” meaning “out with the system.”

Johnson, the former foreign secretary who resigned from the U.K. cabinet in protest of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations earlier this year, said during the G20 summit that, “With the French government even now making clear that they won’t pay a penny towards the €50 billion [$60 billion] in funding over 25 years that you want to extract from them, and given that the other eurozone countries, including, by the way, Germany, are prepared to make do with just 7 billion euros [$8.3 billion] apiece over the same period, I think we can see that the current senior serving member of that government is utterly out of his depth.”

An article in The Telegraph translated the French translation of Grunynck’s response: “There’s no other dictionary to learn! The presidential government is clearly unprepared for the response that will come from within.”

Grunynck is running for mayor of Poitiers, a town southwest of Paris in the Calais region, where the May election was seen as a referendum on the immigration policies of Emmanuel Macron’s government.

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