Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro left the country two days before the end of his term in office. He flew to Orlando, Florida, in a government plane on Friday. There he stayed in a house belonging to the former Brazilian martial artist José Aldo in a closed residential complex, as the newspaper “Folha de S. Paulo” reported on Saturday.

Bolsonaro’s term ends on New Year’s, when his left-wing successor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will be sworn in. Recently, it had already become apparent that the right-wing head of state, contrary to custom, would not take part in the handover.

Around 30 Brazilians received the head of state in Orlando and chanted “Myth, myth” – a popular term for Bolsonaro among his supporters. The Brazilian head of state briefly greeted his supporters and then withdrew into the house.

His employees, to whom he is entitled even after the end of his term of office and who are paid with tax money, had a trip to the United States approved for the whole of January. Bolsonaro was accompanied by his wife Michelle and their 12-year-old daughter Laura. In Florida he also wanted to meet his two adult sons Flavio and Carlos.

It was initially unclear what exactly was behind Bolsonaro’s trip to the USA. According to a report by the news portal G1, his lawyers are said to have advised the president to leave Brazil before the end of his term in office. Apparently they feared that the head of state could be held responsible for the sometimes violent protests by his supporters after Lula’s election victory.

Since his election defeat at the end of October, Bolsonaro has hardly appeared. On Friday he said goodbye to his followers with a video message. He drew a positive balance of his tenure: he boosted the economy, liberalized gun laws and lowered fuel prices, said Bolsonaro. “Am I going to say that I was the best president in the world? I won’t. But I gave my blood.”

So far, Bolsonaro has not expressly acknowledged the election victory of his opponent Lula. Lula’s government is already “broken,” Bolsonaro said in the video message. His successor will have difficulties with the now more conservative parliament and parts of the population who voted for Lula already regret this.

Most recently, radical Bolsonaro supporters camped in front of barracks and demanded that the military take action against the government of the future president. In his speech, Bolsonaro said he had nothing to do with it. He also condemned a failed bomb attack by one of his sympathizers as an act of terrorism.

Vice President Hamilton Mourão told the news portal G1 that he would take over the government as soon as Bolsonaro left the country. “I will take office as soon as Bolsonaro’s plane leaves Brazilian airspace. Everything will be peaceful and calm in the country until President Lula takes office,” Mourao said. But he will not hand over the presidential sash to Lula on Sunday either. Only Bolsonaro is entitled to that, but he will not be in Brazil at this time.