Macron takes responsibility for violence at protest, party members say
French president breaks silence after aide caught on video beating demonstrator
Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron's party quoted him in tweets Tuesday night as saying he takes full responsibility in a scandal surrounding a former security chief seen in a video beating a protester.
The tweets show photos of Macron at an unannounced gathering Tuesday evening with ministers and members of the French parliament making his first remarks since the scandal broke six days ago.
Aurore Bergé, a parliamentary spokesperson for Macron's centrist party, tweeted quotes of the president saying in French that "the only one responsible is me. They can come and get me."
Contre l'émotion de l'instant, contre la tentation de se défausser sur d'autres ou cet appel à "faire tomber des têtes", le président prend toutes ses responsabilités et réfute "la République des fusibles." <br>"Le seul responsable, c'est moi. Qu'ils viennent me chercher." <a href="https://t.co/3Nos78ftbu">pic.twitter.com/3Nos78ftbu</a>—@auroreberge
Legislator Bruno Fuchs also quoted Macron as saying the May Day action by the security aide, Alexandre Benalla, "was for me a betrayal."
« Ce qui s’est passé le 1er mai a été pour moi une trahison » <a href="https://twitter.com/EmmanuelMacron?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EmmanuelMacron</a> devant les parlementaires de la majorité <a href="https://t.co/R6CZ1h4imy">pic.twitter.com/R6CZ1h4imy</a>—@bruno_fuchs
Macron, a centrist who created his own political party with the promise of an exemplary presidency, has been confronted with a major political crisis since the revelation last week by the newspaper Le Monde that the man filmed acting violently with protesters was a top security aide for the president.
Benalla has since been handed preliminary charges along with four others, including three ranking police officers.
A parliamentary inquiry is underway to learn why Benalla wasn't fired in May. Government ministers, the police chief and top officials at the presidential palace are slated to testify. But opposition politicians have been calling for Macron to break his silence.
During Tuesday's parliamentary session, lawmakers noisily pounded the prime minister with questions. Work on a constitutional revision has been suspended and an opinion poll indicates Macron's public support has taken a hit as a result of the scandal.
Bergé said later on BFM-TV that Macron told the gathering he is not a fair-weather president and suggested he won't let other officials take the blame. French media have been speculating over the past few days about which ministers or officials might lose their jobs.