When TIME first interviewed President Emmanuel Macron in 2015, he was an Economy Minister with a grand plan for a new kind of politics. The next time, in 2017, he had won power at the age of 39 and was putting that plan into action. For our third interview at the halfway point of his first term, our opening question was about the chaotic and sometimes violent reaction to what he has done in office.
Yet Macron hardly looked like a man who had weathered one of the most violent years in modern France, with Yellow Vest protesters burning barricades and hurling vitriol at him. Relaxed in his shirtsleeves in his office in the Elysée Palace on Sept. 9, he betrayed little sign of the turmoil some in his inner circle say he has been through in the past months. “There have been moments, very tough, especially on a personal standpoint,” says Ismael Emelien, a long-time advisor of Macron who left the Elysée in February. “He always knew that since we were transforming the country, it would come wi..