I’m not sure how exactly he was expecting this would play out?
Brazil’s president greets Azul passengers
This incident happened on Azul flight 4655 from Vitoria to Campinas on Friday, June 11, 2021. Brazil’s controversial president, Jair Bolsonaro, was in the southeastern state of Espirito Santo to inaugurate a public works project.
While at the airport, he took a moment to “surprise” passengers on a departing flight. No, he wasn’t actually supposed to take the flight, but he figured he’d say hi to the passengers, I guess. As you can see captured in video of the incident, that wasn’t well received.
Some passengers seemed to be Bolsonaro fans and cheered, while asking for pictures with him. Others weren’t fans, and flicked him off, booed, yelled “get out, Bolsonaro,” and also yelled “genocidal maniac” (in reference to his handling of the pandemic).
In response to the unwelcome reception, Bolsonaro removed his mask and yelled “those people saying ‘get out, Bolsonaro,’ should be traveling by donkey.” For what it’s worth, there are also reports of Bolsonaro removing his mask in the airport, in violation of regulations. His lack of mask wearing isn’t surprising — yesterday he got fined in Sao Paulo for not wearing a mask, in violation of local regulations.
Here’s the video of the incident (it contains bad language and middle fingers, so view at your own discretion):
What exactly was Bolsonaro expecting?
Real talk — is there any other way this could have played out? Aside from countries where leaders are universally “loved” (like in North Korea), I’m not sure how a surprise visit by a polarizing leader in a confined space is in anyone’e best interest?
There are already enough incidents on planes during these times, and when you add in politics and a pandemic, this seems like a recipe for disaster.
Perhaps the strangest part of this is that Bolsonaro seems surprised by the reaction, suggesting that people who aren’t fans of having him on the plane should instead ride a donkey.
Was this a spur of the moment attempt at some good PR? Was Azul in on this? Why did he choose this flight over others?
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro decided to board an Azul flight on Friday to surprise passengers, though that wasn’t very well received. While there were some fans of his onboard, others flicked him off and told him to leave, which is a reaction he seemed surprised by. In response to that feedback, he told people to instead take donkeys if they don’t like him.
Can anyone make sense of this incident?