Most politicians’ Twitter accounts get hate mail. Julien Rochedy gets love letters. “He could be my husband in another life,” one women tweeted. “He’s just too hot!” And there was the male admirer who said his looks were a “weapon of mass destruction.”
Yes, he’s single, and his chiseled jaw, sexy stubble and perfectly tailored suits are quite attractive. But what’s truly jaw-dropping is what’s underneath: a right-wing heart harboring anti-immigrant views on par with the tea party. His other allies? A group of rising European conservatives, including France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders.
“We are witnessing a replacement of the French,” he tells OZY. “It’s very worrisome.”
The mention of right-wing politics in Europe often conjures images of angry skinheads, poor uneducated men and migrant-lynching mobs. Not Rochedy. The 26-year-old leads the youth branch of the Front National — France’s farthest-right party and third political force. Known for euro-skeptic and xenophobic views, it’s attracting a growing number of voters disenchanted with President François Hollande’s Socialists and ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right party. Rochedy himself is anti-euro, and told OZY he believes protectionism is the model for economic success, citing the U.S. as an example.