We thought things between President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and President-elect Mauricio Macri would cool off in the days prior to inauguration day. Or at least during the long weekend. Turns out we were wrong. Again.
On Sunday afternoon, one day after Macri called her to – he says – convince her to join him at the Casa Rosada inauguration ceremony this Thursday, a clearly annoyed Cristina took to Twitter to publicly disclose the ugly details of their conversation and even hinted at gender violence.
The sheer absurdity of this whole affair is close to becoming the plot of a bad telenovela from the ’80s and while both Macri and Cristina continue to vent in public their childish and unfortunate disagreements, it is in fact the population that has become the adult in the room and is now making non-stop calls to stop this embarrassing charade before the international press takes notice (the New York Times has already mentioned it this morning).
Yesterday Cristina tweeted: “Hasta acá llegó mi amor,” meaning that she’s putting her foot down and not playing nice anymore before a man that she says is making a big deal out of nothing in order to create the perception that she’s unwilling to relinquish the so-called presidential attributes.
She described how the President-elect had “yelled at her, demanding her attention because this was ‘his’ inauguration ceremony.” Cristina also subtly hinted at gender violence after tweeting that she had to remind him that “besides her being the President, he is a man and she is a woman so she didn’t deserve to be treated this way.”
And the drama didn’t end there.
She said she once again insisted the she would not go to the Casa Rosada with him to hand over the presidential sash and staff. She will join him in Congress for the swearing-in ceremony but then she will leave because she wants to fly to Santa Cruz to attend Alicia Kirchner’s (her sister-in-law) gubernatorial inauguration ceremony.
Since Macri – allegedly – kept yelling at her, Cristina explained that she would not allow this disrespect to go any further, because:
- She’s not his partner
- It’s not his birthday party
- She will not continue to be silent while he publicly mistreats her. A behavior that, according to her, responds to his collusion with large media groups (i.e. Clarín) to make her look weak in front of “an authoritative figure” like the President-elect.
Then, without warning, she surprisingly changed her tone at the end of her long tirade and posted a photo of the garden of the Olivos Presidential Residence where she says she had yellow flowers planted as “a cordial gesture” to honor the arrival of the President-elect, since that is “his favorite color.” An anticlimactic change of heart that made her whole diatribe feel inane and superficial.
President Cristina Kirchner is a smart woman who has managed to successfully navigate countless political storms. It is somewhat discomforting and sad to see her last days in office being spent on a petty argument that no one cares about.
It is also unfortunate that she’s unwilling to budge and pose for a photo with the new President. Her childish attitude indicates a bitterness and reluctance to finally leave an office that she’s occupied for eight years (12 if you count her husband’s term,) a sentiment that has prompted her several times to suggest that even though Macri was voted by a majority of the population, he somehow isn’t truly representative of “the people.”
But at the same time, it is time for Macri to move on too.
What lies behind this absurd arm wrestling is the President-elect’s refusal to be perceived as weak before Cristina on his first day in office, so he keeps insisting that she must be present and that the ceremony will be carried out according to his plans, not hers.
It is too bad that she’s not willing to concede but the reality is that there’s not much more he can do. It is helpful to remember that this ceremony is just a tradition that is in no way mandated by the Constitution. Once he’s sworn-in in Congress, Macri could be holding the Power Transfer Ceremony in some casino in Mar del Plata for all we care and it would still be perfectly valid.
If necessary, someone else will hand over the sash and staff while the new President poses for the photos. No harm, no foul.
As Cristina accurately said during her extensive Twitter rant yesterday, it’s a messy world out there. It’s time to stop talking about this and begin discussing the real issues at hand.
Read President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s tweets below: