Bolsonaro's Harsh Tone Appeals to Populist Base

President blends populist schedule with radical talk against opponents

President Jair Bolsonaro blends a populist schedule that includes football games and weekend walks in public places, with a harsh tone in his communication, surprising even close aides.

According to people close to the president, the criticism he received for appointing his son Eduardo as ambassador to the United States led him to radicalize the tone of his speech.

In private talks, the president told allies that he saw the attacks on Eduardo as a personal offense and that it would be his obligation to defend his son. According to palace aides, Bolsonaro is very sensitive to any issue that strikes his family, and scarcely listens to his staff about the tone he will adopt in the statements.

Politically, Bolsonaro sits comfortably because the house approved the first round of Social Security reform.

President Jair Bolsonaro.Crédito ReproduçaoJair Messias Facebook

His most recent targets have been journalists Miriam Leitão and Glenn Greenwald, northeasterners--who were derogatively called "paraibas"--and INPE (National Institute for Space Research), which had its data on deforestation discredited.

But he still tries to connect with regular Brazilians. On Monday, he broadcasted live on social media while getting his hair cut during office hours, at Planalto Palace.

Between June and July, he attended six soccer games in four cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. Sometimes he posts videos and photos on social media with players and coaches.

He also leaves his house on weekends for trivial activities such as club visits, lunch in restaurants, and grocery shopping. On one of his trips, he entered a supermarket in Brasilia to buy six shampoos.

This shift began after Wajngarten's entry into the government's communication team.

Bolsonaro's talk became more radical in mid-July, that is, after the announcement that he would appoint Eduardo to the Brazilian embassy in Washington, on July 11.

After admitting that he would help his son live on social media, the president began a sequence of public outbursts.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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