Brazil’s first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, interrupted her husband, President Jair Bolsonaro, during his weekly Facebook Live broadcast Thursday with a bouquet of flowers and a kiss to celebrate their twelfth wedding anniversary.
The president took the opportunity to thank her and his family profusely for their support, particularly during the difficult election that won him the nation’s top office last year and the challenge of mounting a new political party.
Bolsonaro announced he would leave the conservative Social Liberal Party (PSL), with which he won the 2018 presidential election, and form his own coalition, the Alliance for Brazil.
Bolsonaro has also struggled with his health since a socialist attempted to stab him to death during a campaign rally in September 2018, significantly damaging his intestines and necessitating several surgeries. Bolsonaro campaigned as a staunch economic and social conservative, attracting the ire of the nation’s socialists, who ruled the country for most of the 21st century.
“Yesterday … Michelle invaded our weekly [Facebook] Live for a simple tribute to our union, which turned 12 years old,” Bolsonaro said on Twitter, sharing the clip of her interruption. “Thank you, God, for my family, a fundamental pillar at all times! Thank you to my wife for always being by my side”:
– Ontem, 28 de novembro, minha esposa Michelle invadiu nossa live semanal para um singela homenagem à nossa união, que completou 12 anos.
– Obrigado Deus pela minha família, pilar fundamental em todos os momentos!
– Obrigado minha esposa por estar sempre ao meu lado! pic.twitter.com/wXGqehZuIA
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) November 29, 2019
Bolsonaro opened the extended Facebook Live video with a cheerful, “Do you know what day it is?” to the sign language translator and infrastructure official joining him to discuss improving the tourism industry in the country. First lady Michelle interrupted about halfway through the broadcast with a kiss and a flower bouquet.
“Twelve years of marriage and it feels like yesterday,” Bolsonaro told his wife, surprised. “Is it the same? Better all the time, eh? Family is priceless.”
Bolsonaro thanked the first lady for sticking by him through a particularly difficult year.
“I am not complaining, no. But it is very tough, problems that never end. And what is hardest is the ingratitude of some people who turned against us after the election,” he said.
He noted also the difficulties of establishing the Alliance for Brazil, a separate party intended to unite conservatives who were not attracted to the more established PSL and cementing conservative power in the Brazilian Congress.
Bolsonaro is a hardline conservative and Evangelical Christian who regularly publishes family content and often mentions his faith in public. On Wednesday, the president shared a video of a service he attended at the Evangelical Convention of Assemblies of God in Brazil in which he and the first lady receive a blessing:
– O Pastor Samuel Câmara, Presidente da Convenção das Assembleias de Deus no Brasil, ora pelo nosso Governo.
– Ontem em Manaus/AM. pic.twitter.com/cswWsg7kQ7
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) November 27, 2019
The Tuesday service was reportedly titled “Worship of Gratitude to God and for the Life of the President of the Republic” and took place in Manaus, one of the deep Amazon’s largest cities.
Bolsonaro’s first public appearance following his election to the presidency occurred at an Evangelical church. Still in recovery from his stab wound, Bolsonaro’s first words to a crowd after the election were “First, I want to thank God for being alive.”
During those remarks at the Assembly of God Victory in Christ Church in Rio de Janeiro, presided over by the pastor who married him and the first lady, Bolsonaro admitted he “cried a lot” after winning, overwhelmed by the journey and the privilege to serve the country.
“I am sure I am not the most capable [for the job], but God capacitates the chosen,” he said.
Elsewhere in Thursday’s Facebook Live video, a broadcast the president makes every week, Bolsonaro complained against environmental NGOs who, he said, were seeking to “make money at our expense” and “hurt” Brazil. He especially took aim at actor Leonardo DiCaprio, whom he accused of collaborating to burn down the Amazon Rainforest.
The rainforest experiences annual fires, mostly manmade, during the Southern Hemisphere spring, intended to clear land for planting seeds. The fires this year were of about average scale, but, under a new conservative government, Brazil faced a barrage of criticism from leftist environmentalist groups and European leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron over the burning. To the extent that the fires had expanded beyond their typical scale, this was the case in Bolivia, where socialist former President Evo Morales passed laws to allow more burning, thus benefiting the farmers who formed his political base. Morales resigned voluntarily on November 10 after the Organization of American States (OAS) exposed widespread fraud in the October 20 election that allegedly won him an illegal fourth term.
Bolsonaro noted in his Facebook Live that DiCaprio joined the campaign against Bolsonaro over the fires in August, donating millions to a charity working to combat the Brazilian government’s alleged permissiveness regarding the fires. DiCaprio funded the group “Earth Alliance” in August and pledged $5 million to efforts specifically geared towards the Amazon.
“An NGO pays 70,000 reais ($16,588.08) for a fabricated photo of fires. And what is easier? You play ‘fire’ in the bush, take a photo, film it, send it to an NGO, the NGO exposes it, gets in touch with Leonardo DiCaprio, and Leonardo DiCaprio donates $500,000 to this NGO,” Bolsonaro said in his Facebook Live. “Leonardo DiCaprio, you are collaborating with the burning of the Amazon.”