Known for his sharp tongue, the centrist once called opponents to his reforms “slackers” and accused protesting workers of stirring up trouble instead of looking for a new job.
“His remarks were hurtful. It wasn’t the response I was expecting. It was a slap in the face,” 25-year-old Jonathan Jahan told the French news channel BFM TV, adding that he was deeply “disappointed” with the young president’s behaviour.
“He’s out of touch with reality and completely off the mark. He’s still living in La-la Land. He’s dreaming.
«He’s the president, and yet he doesn’t seem to care about the jobless. He’s not concerned about any of that,” Mr Jahan said.
Mr Macron came under fire on Sunday for telling the aspiring gardener at an open-house event at the Elysée Palace that he could easily find a job if he started looking in high-demand sectors like hotels, restaurants or construction.
“If you’re willing and motivated, in hotels, cafés and restaurants, construction, there’s not a single place I go where they don’t say they’re looking for people.
«Not one – it’s true! If I crossed the street I’d find you one,” Mr Macron said after the youth told him he had a diploma in gardening but was finding it difficult to land a job.
Unemployment in France is stuck at around nine per cent, with many people unable to find work in their field while other sectors, such as the hospitality industry, are always short of staff.
French news channels played the video of the awkward exchange in a loop, calling it the latest gaffe from Mr Macron, who has previously referred to the French as “slackers,” berated striking workers for “kicking up a bloody fuss” and scolded a youth for calling him “Manu” instead of “Mr President”.
Government members rallied around the Mr Macron on Monday, arguing that straight talk is what voters want, rather than the doublespeak – known as ‘langue de bois’ (wooden tongue) in French – so common in French politics.
Mr Jahan’s troubles, however, could soon be over. On Tuesday the Elysée Palace said that France’s horticulturists’ federation had been flooded with job offers for the youth, and urged him to get in touch.
Mr Macron’s poll ratings have slumped to their lowest levels since his election in May 2017, as tax cuts intended to boost spending, mainly for companies and higher earners, have yet to bear much fruit.