French President Emmanuel Macron has decided to take the hit for the unfolding Alexandre Benalla affair, saying he’s responsible for all the actions of his violent aide, who was filmed beating demonstrators during a May Day rally.
“If they are looking for the one responsible, the only one responsible is me and me alone,” Macron told fellow parliamentary party lawmakers on Tuesday, as quoted by BFM TV. “If they want the one responsible, he’s in front of you. Let them come and get me. I answer to the French people.”
The full-blown scandal unfolded last week when it was revealed that Benalla, Macron’s bodyguard and assistant chief of staff, “helped” the police to tackle seemingly peaceful protesters during the May 1st demonstrations in Paris. Benalla was filmed beating a male protester and dragging away a woman, while wearing a riot police-style helmet. The actual riot police did not intervene in Benalla’s violent actions, according to the footage.
Macron on Tuesday called the scandalous May 1 events a “betrayal,” adding that he had “trusted” Benalla. The French president at the same time stressed that he was also the one who authorized a “sanction” against the rogue aide, adding that none of his staff was above the law.
The said sanction, however, had seemingly only taken effect when the affair went public, which forced the presidential administration to sack Benalla.
Immediately after the incident, Benalla got away with only a two-week suspension without pay. The violent aide was later spotted overseeing the security of the French football team’s bus during their triumphant return from the 2018 World Cup.
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