Emmanuel Macron slapped: Is the head of state taking too many risks for his personal safety?

On the main Tuesday, June 8th, in the Drôme, Emmanuel Macron was beaten by a man in the crowd during his trip to Tain-l’Hermitage. A gesture that calls into question the security of the President of the Republic and exposes the risks facing the Head of State.

It’s 1:30 p.m. Emmanuel Macron, dressed in a white shirt, tie and black mask, leaves the hotel management school in Tain-l’Hermitage in the Drôme. The President of the Republic visits the reopening of the dining rooms there. Gathered behind a security barrier, a handful of onlookers await him. The head of state then improvises a tour. A few seconds are enough for the President of the Republic to receive a slap in the face and throw himself back, pulled by his bodyguard. Confusion then grips the small crowd gathered, leaving time for security to ensure the threat doesn’t continue.

“This is not an attempt at a slap in the face, but a slap in the face,” said Alain Le Caro, former head of the Security Group of the Presidency of the Republic (GSPR). “We were able to beat the President of the Republic,” the former GIGN colonel repeated angrily. However, it is not the first time that a French head of state has been attacked. But it is clear to the military that Emmanuel Macron takes too many risks when it comes to his personal safety. “The proof,” he says. It happened. The president was defeated. Luckily, on the physical level, it wasn’t too serious, but on the symbolic level, it’s a real blow. ”

A statement supported by Anne-Claire Ruel, Political Communication Specialist and Lecturer at the Sorbonne University, Paris Nord. “This sacred dimension comes from the attack that was carried out on the president’s sacred body,” she explains. “The historian Kantorowicz recalls the symbolic distinction between the two bodies of a president, on the one hand the divine, inviolable side that represents the republican function, on the other hand the banal, common side, it is about nobody.” With this slap in the face the human side of Emmanuel Macron was exposed, so the expert, but also the symbolic dimension was touched. “Was the republic targeted by this gesture?” Asks Anne-Claire Ruel.

Also read: Emmanuel Macron slapped by a man: Jean Castex declares that he will “continue” to meet the French

A president “too fast”

Leaving the Tain-l’Hermitage hotel school, the President of the Republic took a few rhythmic steps to join the crowd. “He went alone,” explains Denis Roux, head of security for Presidents Mitterand and Chirac, who analyzed the scene for the telegram. “Emmanuel Macron faced this threat. He took the hand of this person himself when he had no members of his security forces around,” confirms Alain Le Caro.

For the founder of the GSPR, the problem is “not the crowd, but the speed of the president and presidents in general. If he had gone to the head of the crowd less quickly, the GSPR would have had time to do so to identify the attitudes of the individual, which are undoubtedly very different from the other people gathered behind the safety barrier. “A recurring problem in the presidency, says Denis Roux, who remembers the years in which he was responsible for the safety of Jacques Chirac. “We had to release the saber,” he laughs. “Still, we need a little time to deal with the situation to analyze, so I blocked the president’s door. ”

While in France the president has complete freedom of movement, politics in the United States is very different. It is the “Secret Service”, a government agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, that judges whether a trip is too risky or too dangerous for the president. Nobody, not even the head of state or the protocol, can oppose the choice of the secret service.

A “duplicatable” model in France, according to Denis Roux. “The French president has ambitions that his American counterpart doesn’t.” “In France, the presidents do not want the American model, confirms Alain Le Caro. We have to give the presidency its freedom.”

In addition, tours, “French tradition”, would not necessarily be synonymous with danger for specialists in local protection. “We cannot ban them, but they should at least take their time so that their security forces can take the necessary measures, believes Alain Le Caro. We must not run into the crowd.”

Contact with the French would be necessary for a president during the election campaign. “Emmanuel Macron needs more to get closer to the citizens, because he is perceived as arrogant,” affirms Anne-Claire Ruel spacer. “

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