Macron Complains That the French Complain Too Much, as President's Popularity Falls

President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that France would be better if people did not complain so much.

Macron made the comments after a retiree protested about pension cuts. The president responding that Charles de Gaulle's grandson told him that his grandfather's rule was "You can speak freely, the only thing we should not do is complain."

"I think that the general had the right idea. The country would be different if everyone did the same. We don't realize how lucky we are. We are seeing more and more elderly people in our country in good health," Macron said, according to Agence France-Presse. He was at a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the French constitution in the home village and burial place of the World War II general.

French President Emmanuel Macron at the U.N. General Assembly for his address on September 25. On Thursday, he said France would be a better country if people didn't complain so much. John Moore/Getty

The comments come as the French leader's popularity continues to slump. In a September poll conducted by French polling company Ifop, only 29 percent of the 1,964 people surveyed approved of Macron's performance, a significant drop from a 34 percent approval rating in August.

Another poll, from French polling company OpinionWay, showed that 28 percent of 1,061 people surveyed approved of the president's performance, a 7 percent drop from a July poll.

The low polls do not seem to bother Macron, who says he intends to continue improving the country's economy.

"I have a big advantage: I don't have any midterm elections. So I am not driven by polls. I have to reform the country in depth. We will keep exactly the same pace," Macron told Bloomberg in an interview last week.

Called the "president of the rich" by critics, Macron told an unemployed man last month that there are many employers looking for job seekers. "I can find you a job just by crossing the road," the president told him.

"If you are ready and motivated, in hotels, cafés, and construction, everywhere I go, people say to me that they are looking for staff," he said, according to the BBC.

Video of the encounter went viral in France, where the unemployment rate is about 10 percent. The man was able to find a job a little over a week later.

"I'm happy because I'm going to work in something I love," Jonathan Jahan, 25, told France's BFM TV, according to Reuters, after he accepted a job as a coach bus driver. Jahan, who studied horticulture, turned down 20 other job offers.