France's head of the armed forces resigned on Wednesday after a heated dispute with Emmanuel Macron over defense budget cuts. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
An early test for newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron. His armed forces chief has quit days after a heated dispute over defense budget cuts. Pierre de Villiers said on Wednesday (July 19) he is, quote, "no longer able to guarantee the robust defense force I believe is necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the French people, today and tomorrow and to sustain the aims of our country". He exchanged fiery words with the president behind closed doors last week. When he fought against Macron's slashing of 850-million-euro's ($979.46 million) from the defense coffers in an effort to rein in state spending. The following day the pair were seen side by side at Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, where they showed no signs of the fierce exchange. According to sources de Villiers had used strong language when he appeared before parliamentarians, adding: "I may be stupid, but I know when I'm being had". But following the meeting the president said his defense chief had no choice but to agree with what he says. He warned an audience of dozens of top army officers, quote, "I have made commitments, I am your boss." As of Wednesday, that's something that no longer applies to de Villiers.