5:52 pm, the phone rings in the French Morning office. “Hi, this is Eric Trump. You should know that the person with whom I was meeting this afternoon at Trump Tower is the head of retail at the Trump Organization, Tonya Morrow. I’m not involved in politics, and I don’t even know Marine Le Pen.”
On Thursday afternoon, a French Morning reporter saw Eric Trump, the second son of president-elect Donald J. Trump, dining at the Trump Grill with a short-haired blond woman. From a distance, Eric’s dining partner seemed to be Marine Le Pen, head of conservative party Le Front National and candidate in France’s 2017 presidential race. According to Eric Trump himself on the phone with French Morning, he was dining with Tonya Morrow, the director of corporate retail at the Trump Organization.
Both Le Pen and Morrow have blunt blond bobs, and the resemblance is striking. The photo was taken from a distance by the French Morning reporter before Trump Tower security asked him to leave the restaurant. It shows nothing of Eric’s dining partner other than her shoulders and the back of her head, so it’s reasonable to confuse the two women for each other. There was plenty of room for doubt, just enough to bother Eric Trump into calling French Morning personally. (French Morning had reached out to a Donald Trump spokesperson for comment.)
Even though her entourage confirmed that she was in New York for a purely enjoyable private getaway, Marine Le Pen bizarrely spent a significant amount of time in the golden tower of the president-elect. Perhaps Le Pen got hungry for the spotlight and headed to where she knew cameras would be flashing?
Photographed Thursday morning in the Trump Ice Cream Parlor café of Trump Tower, Le Pen was kept company by her husband Louis Aliot and George “Guido” Lombari, an extreme right-wing Italian and friend of Le Pen. Press, Americans, and French alike were alerted, and waited impatiently for Le Pen to descend the elevators. Efforts were futile though—Lombardi arrived around 2:00pm to say that Le Pen had already left.
So why was she there if she wasn’t there to meet with Trump? Lombardi lives there, on the 62nd and 63rd floors. The Italian-American business man has long been a friend of Le Pen. In 2011, during her visit as president of Le Front National to New York, Lombardi played the role of mediator, setting up meetings with notable people for Le Pen.