WASHINGTON – A French presidential candidate for the far-right National Front party skipped a planned Wednesday visit to Washington’s U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where she was to pay respects to over 6 million Jews and millions of others killed by Nazi Germany – but she made time to chat with U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-McHenry.
Marine Le Pen, who is also a member of the European Union parliament, had announced she would visit the museum Wednesday morning during a U.S. tour to boost her international profile that also included stops on Capitol Hill and the United Nations in New York. Later, she told The Associated Press she simply ran out of time for the museum visit.
On Capitol Hill, she met with Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, who is running for president, to discuss ways to end the global economic crisis and with Walsh, a prominent tea party supporter. A planned meeting with Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich was canceled.
The museum visit would have been seen as a dramatic departure from her father, former party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. He has been criticized for minimizing the Holocaust and calling gas chambers “a detail” of history.
Marine Le Pen has said she wants to broaden appeal for her party, known for its anti-immigration, anti-Islam views.