Somewhere between a Freudian slip and a faux pas lost in translation, French President Emmanuel Macron made headlines and raised eyebrows in Sydney on Wednesday by calling Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s wife, Lucy, “delicious.”
Wrapping up a joint news conference during a brief visit to Australia visit, Macron moved to thank the Turnbulls for their hospitality.
“I want to thank you for your welcome, thank you and your delicious wife for your warm welcome,” he said.
The comment quickly sparked some lighthearted reaction on social media and in the Australian press — along with some lively conjecture about the French leader’s intent.
Some felt Macron simply may have slipped up in his use of English, since the French word for delicious — delicieux — also translates as “delightful.”
Other observers felt he may have been making a joke — with a deadpan delivery. Turnbull just had mentioned Macron’s imminent lunch with members of Sydney’s French community, and had followed with comments about French gastronomy and wine. Macron had, just minutes earlier, been talking about shrimp, picking up on Turnbull’s comment relating to China’s growing influence in the South Pacific, when the Australian leader said that “big fish cannot eat little fish, and little fish cannot eat shrimp.”
The more mischievous may have even considered Macron’s comment a tongue-in-cheek reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Paris last year, when he was caught telling Macron’s wife, Brigitte, that she was “in such great shape,” before looking to her husband, and saying, “Beautiful.”
The moment made headlines in Australia as a somewhat comedic ending to a serious news conference focusing on violent May Day protests in Paris — which left 109 people in custody.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.