At least both have somethings in common: They graduated from Science Po, a prestigious school which also dominates French media appointments and both are ardent supporters of NATO.
On Thursdays, Philippe, deputy and mayor of Le Havre, and close to Alain Juppé, had chronicled the presidential campaign for Libération, a leftwing French rag.
Juppé, lost the nomination to Francois Fillon. The bald former Prime Minister of France from 1995 to 1997 under President Jacques Chirac, Juppé is famously familiar with Roman history and exchanges text messages in Latin with his colleagues.
A few months ago Philippe attacked Macron and described him as a “technocrat banker” with no principles. In Latin they say ambulans, because everyone will deduce what he wants, Philippe wrote.
Writing in January, Philippe said: “Who is Macron? For some, impressed by his power of seduction and his reformist rhetoric, he would be the natural son of Kennedy and Mendes France. We doubt it. The former had more charisma, the second more principles. For others, he would be Brutus, the adopted son of Caesar.”
Philippe actually continues to say that it would be insulting to compare Brutus – who was a senator and philosopher – to Macron, who he described as “a technocrat banker” with no principles. “Macron pleased those who did not like [Francois] Fillon, [Marine] Le Pen, or any of those who pretended to incarnate the left.”
Macron was rather like Naevius Sutorius Macro, a Roman officer who ordered staff to smother Emperor Tiberius under a huge pile of clothes after it was discovered they had announced his death prematurely, Philippe said. “Macron, who knows nothing but promises everything, with the ardour of a juvenile conqueror and the cynicism of an old truck driver”.
“What is certain is that this Macron, a minor figure in Roman history, will end his days and those of his wife under the pressure of Caligula.”
Philippe ends his attack on Macron with a miserable prediction: “What will remain of the name? From a failed revolution or a flash victory? Of a miserable treachery or of a disproportionate ambition? Nobody can say that today. For one thing is certain since the beginning of this campaign: in politics, at least as much as our ancestors the Romans, we are fools, we Gauls.”