After Jair Bolsonaro's approval rating plummeted in August, the Planalto Palace's so-called "cabinet of rage" lost some of its power and influence on the president.
Tercio Arnaud Tomaz, 31, JosÃ© Matheus Salles Gomes, 26, and Mateus Matos Diniz, 25, came to the government to keep alive the digital militancy responsible for lifting Bolsonaro to the presidency.
The radicalization strategy advocated by the group, under the supervision of councilman Carlos Bolsonaro (PSC-RJ), has suffered setbacks since polls started showing erosion in the president's popularity.
The ideological bunker sits in a room on the third floor of the Planalto Palace, a few steps from the presidential office. Under the influence of Carlos Bolsonaro, the trio quickly gained the president's trust and dictated, in critical moments, his behavior.
For moderate members of Bolsonaro's government, including the military, the president's approval rating fell to 38% because of a succession of controversial statements in July, many of them spurred on by the "cabinet of rage."
That month, they say, the president was urged by the cabinet to embark on a radical escalation, to beckon to his most loyal supporters. The ideological group's thesis is that it cannot abandon the confrontational tone that dominated its election campaign.
According to reports to Folha, they played a leading role, for example, in the decision of the president to cancel a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the end of July. The idea of Bolsonaro then appearing on a live broadcast on social networks getting a haircut was attributed to them.
The episode marked the beginning of the diplomatic crisis with the French government of Emmanuel Macron.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon