Bolsonaro’s political isolation the new normal

bolsonaro isolated

With the spread of Covid-19 across the globe, we have been hearing the term “the new normal” quite often — to describe remote work, social interaction through video apps, or reduced time outside of one’s home. In Brazilian politics, it also means having nearly every relevant political actor turning on President Jair Bolsonaro.

On Thursday, the president went on radio station Jovem Pan and lashed out at Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, saying he needs to “listen to the president more often.” In normal times, that would be that — and many Bolsonaro supporters would echo his words. But in Covid-19 Brazil, even the most die-hard loyalists have criticized the president’s unscientific approach to the coronavirus. Rosangela Moro, the wife of Justice Minister Sergio Moro, took to social media to defend the Health Minister, writing on Instagram “In Mandetta we trust.” She later deleted the post.

Meanwhile, self-proclaimed philosopher Olavo de Carvalho — Mr. Bolsonaro’s political guru — called for a street protest on April 5 in defiance of quarantine rules. Folha de S.Paulo journalist Fabio Zanini reported that the backlash on social media was intense, even among conservatives who support Mr. Bolsonaro’s defense of the military dictatorship, who began sharing the hashtag #Moro2022. Mr. Moro is, course, the most popular member of the administration — even more so than the president himself. 

Another sign of the president’s isolation was the cover of conservative magazine IstoÉ, published today with the headline “The Mourão Solution,” calling the retired Army general vice president a better option to lead the nation. Of course, Mr. Mourão would only take the reins if Mr. Bolsonaro was to resign … or be ousted.