Thursday, February 13, 6 p.m .: an urgent message falls on the WhatsApp thread of Benjamin Griveaux’s campaign teams. The subject? “The situation”, it is written in very modest terms about the blast which is about to sweep away the one who is still a candidate. Appointment is given to everyone the next day at 9 am to “align ourselves with the plan to be implemented on the basis of a proposal” (sic). And instructions have passed to complete it: “On the questions asked by journalists, at this stage, please do not make any comments. The “Griveaux boys” still think they can hold out. A little earlier, however, the first cracks appeared in the staff. “If it is to continue with the same candidate, it is without me!” Threatened one.
Everything collapses at 6.15 p.m., when former LREM MP Joachim Son-Forget posts the link to the intimate video attributed to Benjamin Griveaux on Twitter. The damage is done: the matter is now public. “He could have said: Yes, it’s me, and I’m more to my advantage! For the rest, it’s my private life “Hilariously suggests a regular at the Elysée Palace. A hypothesis rejected by the relatives of the former candidate for mayor of Paris. “Other stuff was going to come out,” said a friend.
“We are all shocked, very annoyed”
No more time to waste. No one at LREM wants to live the Fillon affair, which had seen the presidential candidate cling to the end despite the stigma. Decision is quickly taken that Griveaux, “devastated” according to one of his friends, announces himself the withdrawal of his candidacy, before leaving to go green.
VIDEO. Benjamin Griveaux withdraws his candidacy for mayor of Paris
Returning from the Mer de Glace a few hours later, Emmanuel Macron talks on the phone with his former minister, according to several sources. “The president was online very, very late,” said an intimate. He was said to have been informed only during the course of Thursday. But how can he imagine that he was not alerted earlier, when advisers to the Elysée Palace were aware as early as Wednesday evening that an infamous video was circulating on the Net? “He knew Wednesday evening, at the latest Thursday morning, as soon as it was proven,” said a prominent Walker.
How did he take it? “Hysterical, it’s his first name!” Says a faithful. “There was no big anger. We are all shocked, very annoyed, ”assures another. “A bit of both,” synthesizes a member of the first circle. “He was always wary of Benjamin, he was never in total confidence”, laments an old friend of the ex-candidate.
“Can you imagine Chirac at the time of the iPhone X?”
On the side of Matignon, Edouard Philippe for his part was carefully removed from the noise, while his ministers, half-frantic, half-mocking, could not get over it. “We were all called in TTTTU (Editor’s note: very very very very urgent) Confesses a pillar of the executive.
Among the Walkers, morale is at a low point. “I am dismayed, frightened, distraught, dumbfounded, annihilated! That Griveaux made a mistake, it’s true, but what will it take tomorrow to stand for election? Come in Saint Francis of Assisi in a robe and sandals? Laments one. “It’s the bad trip,” says a ministerial adviser. “La cata”, admits another, still struck by the accumulation of last-day misses.
While many castigate a “dictatorship of transparency”, some are also strangled by the “inconsistency” of their ex-candidate. “When you are a government spokesperson, you hire the president! The French, in ten years, have had DSK (Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Editor’s note) at the Sofitel, Fillon, who was being paid for suits, and now Griveaux, who is taking photos of his dick… ”one gets carried away. Who adds: “Can you imagine Chirac at the time of the iPhone X? “
Marlène Schiappa not interested
Who to succeed him? LREM is left until the “beginning of the week” to find the rare pearl. At midday on Friday, the entourage of Marlene Schiappa announced that she was not interested. “That’s good, it was never offered to him!” Tackles a councilor of power, aware of the negotiations.
As for the Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn, whom François Bayrou has been pushing insistently for months, the coronavirus pandemic is making the situation more complex. The danger: carbonize a minister on a suicide bomber mission. What about dissident Cédric Villani? The door would remain open, according to several sources.
The fact remains that nobody in macronie, or almost, believes in the chances of saving furniture. An executive adviser sighs: “It’s deadly, we’re not going to talk about rifles! It will end in an electoral shipwreck. “