- Jair Bolsonaro was missing from the inauguration of Brazil’s new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
- Bolsonaro rented an MMA fighter’s house in Florida to flee multiple investigations, according to The New York Times.
- In Bolsonaro’s place, a 33-year-old garbage collector gave Lula da Silva the presidential sash.
Brazil recognized its new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with an elaborate inauguration ceremony on Sunday.
The leftist incumbent snagged the office from the country’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, in a tight runoff election in October. Bolsonaro refused to formally concede the election, and on Sunday he ditched the inauguration for a trip to Orlando, Florida, The New York Times reported.
According to the NYT, Bolsonaro flew there on Friday and plans to stay for at least a month while he faces investigations from his term as president. The Times reported that he is staying in a rented home owned by an unnamed professional mixed-martial-arts fighter, just miles from Disney World.
As per tradition, Bolsonaro was supposed to pass Lula da Silva a presidential sash during Sunday’s ceremony, symbolizing a peaceful transition of power. Instead, according to The Times, a voice announced that Lula da Silva would accept the sash from “the people of Brazil,” and a 33-year-old garbage collector placed the sash over his shoulder.
Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (left) waves to supporters on the day of his swearing-in ceremony, in Brasilia, Brazil, January 1, 2023.
Bolsonaro is facing five inquiries, according to The Times, including an investigation into his misinformation-laden attacks on Brazil’s voting machines and another into his possible links to “digital militias” that spread misinformation. He no longer has the prosecutorial immunity that comes with the office of Brazil’s President.
The Times also reported that an anonymous source, who is a close friend of the Bolsonaro family, said the former president is waiting in Florida to see if the Lula da Silva administration will push any of those investigations.