“A man indeed tried to hit the president,” a spokesperson for Macron told reporters, adding, “The trip goes on”

By Sean Neumann
June 08, 2021 11:33 AM
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French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for a lunch in Valence, on June 8, 2021
French President Emmanuel Macron
| Credit: PHILIPPE DESMAZES/POOL/AFP via Getty

French President Emmanuel Macron was unfazed after he was slapped in the face on Tuesday while shaking hands with bystanders during a visit to a local school, a spokesperson later told reporters.

Viral video quickly spread online of a man slapping Macron, 43, in the face before security rushed the president away and subdued the instigator.

The brief altercation happened during Macron's visit to a school in Tain-l'Hermitage, a village in southeastern French, according to news reports.

Macron had initially run up to a barricade where bystanders were lined up when the first man he approached appeared to grab his left arm, said something to him and then slapped him across the face.

"A man indeed tried to hit the president. We have no further comment at that stage," a spokesperson for Macron told reporters, according to Bloomberg. "The discussions with the crowd and the hand shaking went on. The trip goes on."

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech before a lunch in Valence, on June 8, 2021
French President Emmanuel Macron
| Credit: PHILIPPE DESMAZES/POOL/AFP via Getty

Local BFM TV reported that authorities arrested two people in connection with the altercation: the suspected slapper and another who accompanied him.

The two were arrested for "willful violence against a person holding public authority," according to BFM.

CNN reported the two individuals are both 28 years old.

According to Reuters, the attacker could be heard shouting "Down with Macronia" during the incident as well as "Montjoie Saint Denis," a revolution battle cry against France's monarchy during the 18th century.

Macron reportedly resumed his day afterward, attending a scheduled lunch with wife Brigitte Macron.

Hours after the slap, he tweeted video showing him speaking with the media and members of the public at another event.

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) walks next to his wife Brigitte Macron before a lunch in Valence, on June 8, 2021
Center, from left: French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron
| Credit: PHILIPPE DESMAZES/POOL/AFP via Getty

French left-wing political rival Jean-Luc Mélenchon tweeted that he stood "in solidarity" with Macron, while the leader of the country's far right, Marine Le Pen, told reporters that "it is inadmissible to physically attack the President of the Republic."

"I am the 1st opponent of Emmanuel #Macron," Le Pen tweeted, "but he is the president: we can fight him politically, but we cannot allow the slightest violence towards him."