Insider

Covid hearings: What to look out for in Wajngarten deposition

reform wajngarten
Fabio Wajngarten speaks before the hearings committee today. Photo: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress

President Jair Bolsonaro’s former press secretary Fábio Wajngarten will speak before the Senate’s Covid hearings committee today. And there is a chance of fireworks, after he gave an interview in April blaming Brazil’s lack of vaccines on the Health Ministry’s “incompetence” under its embattled former head, Eduardo Pazuello.

During his time in the government, Mr. Wajngarten made a long list of enemies in the cabinet — feuds largely due to his desire to manage President Bolsonaro’s re-election campaign in 2022. As a result, he clashed with Mr. Pazuello and his former communications advisor Marcos Erald Arnoud, better known by his nickname Markinhos Show.

Mr. Wajngarten and Markinhos Show fought for control over Brazil’s coronavirus vaccination messaging — a dispute that included delaying a mission to collect immunizers from India due to a marketing stunt.

The former press secretary will be questioned about why the government failed to launch a consistent messaging campaign in favor of mask use and protective measures.

Exactly what Mr. Wajngarten will say remains uncertain, but it seems safe to say he will try to shield Mr. Bolsonaro from any blame. On Twitter this morning, he published an excerpt from the book of Isaiah: “So do not fear, for I am with you” — interpreted as a message to the president.