Maintaining his boyish good looks does not come cheap for President Emmanuel Macron. Since he became France’s youngest modern president in May, his office has spent 26,000 euros, or $31,000, for a makeup artist to be at the ready for his public appearances.
The Élysée Palace, the French president’s office, confirmed on Friday a report the day before in the magazine Le Point that said two bills, one for €10,000 and another for €16,000, had been sent to the palace for services provided by a makeup artist for Mr. Macron.
Officials told Francetvinfo that the charges were for “external services that took place in the recent months and that were suited to the moment’s urgency.”
Those moments, according to the president’s office, included “press conferences and visits abroad,” which apparently required a beautician to travel with Mr. Macron to promptly apply powder, toner and other cosmetics.
Since he assumed the presidency in May, Mr. Macron, 39, has bounded on to the international stage in carefully crafted public appearances with leaders several decades older, including President Trump, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
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“Why, but why, does a young, naturally good looking, President who has hardly spoken on television since his inauguration, need this?” Francois Heisbourg, a former government official, wrote on Twitter.
Aides to Mr. Macron told BFMTV in France that his cosmetic costs were “expensive, but less than for his predecessors,” and were likely to be “significantly reduced” in the future.
Mr. Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande, a Socialist, paid €9,895 a month — more than $10,000 — for a personal hairdresser. Nicolas Sarkozy, another former president, reportedly paid his personal beautician €8,000 a month.
Next week, Mr. Macron’s government is scheduled to present sweeping changes to French labor laws that critics say could undermine workers’ job security. His decision to challenge the almost sacrosanct French labor code and his political missteps and blunders this summer have caused his public approval rating to drop precipitously.
In July, his government announced a series of unpopular austerity measures to close a $9.5 billion budget shortfall, including cuts in housing benefits for thousands of students and low-income households. This month, the president had to back away from proposals that his wife be given an official status as first lady.
Mr. Macron had hoped to restore public confidence in his leadership on a tour of Eastern Europe. He was to meet with the leaders of Austria, Romania and Bulgaria, where he delivered a stinging rebuke on Friday to the government in Poland. He criticized the policies of the right-wing government of Poland’s Law and Justice Party, saying it was going “against Europe's interest.”
The prime minister of Poland, Beata Szydlo, shot back at Mr. Macron, saying, “Perhaps his arrogant comments result from lack of political experience.”