Right-wing talker Rush Limbaugh said that he believed newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron invented the "massive email leak" that was reported right before the election in order to spread fear among the electorate. He made the comments on his radio show Monday.
"If you look at the French election," he began, "this ought to prove once and for all the Russians aren't very good at rigging elections, because after all, until the polls closed in France, all we heard was how the Russians are pulling out all the stops for [Marine] Le Pen. Including hacking Macron's emails - did you hear that story right before the voting on Sunday?"
"Oh no, look at how closely things happening in France just like they happened here!" Limbaugh mocked. "The Russians hacked Clinton's emails, and now it looks like there's a major hack on Macron's emails."
"But the French government moved in and prevented the media from releasing any of those emails," he explained. "So we don't even know if there even was a hack, the whole thing could have been a made up story. But the meme was the Russians were pulling out all the stops to elect Le Pen, including hacking this little kid's emails, which is laughable in a dozen ways, not the least being that Macron's supposedly hacked emails were not released until after there was a ban on reporting them under French law. Forty-eight hours before the polls opened so the French media was banned by law for reporting on the hacked emails.
"So either the Russians are incredibly incompetent," he continued, "or the whole thing was made up by the Macron campaign in order to feed the fear-mongering about the Russians trying to fix the election for Le Pen. My money is on the latter and if the Russians were trying to rig the election for Le Pen in the same way they rigged the election for Trump by hacking emails and then releasing them, having embarrassed, their efforts were thwarted."
"How incompetent of the Russians!" Rush concluded.
Americans watched the French election very closely in anticipation that there might be a replay of the astounding comeback in the U.S. election in 2016. Populists were disappointed by the landslide victory for centrist Macron over their preferred candidate, Marine Le Pen, by 66% of the vote to 34%.
The French government banned all media reporting on the election days beforehand, not just the reporting on the Macron email leak. This is standard practice for French elections and is called a "quiet period," where candidates are forbidden from electioneering in order to allow voters to contemplate their choices.