Read in Catalan

"Let's see if we can stop getting angry with people we trust." The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has closed ranks with her chief of staff after it became public that Miguel Ángel Rodríguez threatened and insulted a journalist from The left-wing-oriented digital daily, which later confirmed that the person concerned was Esther Palomera, the deputy editor, stated on Saturday that the People's Party politician's key aide had written to a journalist at the newspaper after it had broken the news that Ayuso's romantic partner Alberto González Amador had received two million euros in commissions for face mask contracts. Shortly after the information was published last Tuesday, Rodríguez sent her a series of WhatsApp messages: “We're going to crush you. You will have to close. Go f*ck yourselves. Idiots”. Faced with these affirmations, the person who received the messages responded by asking if it was a "threat". The reply: "It's an announcement".


Now Ayuso has come to the defence of Miguel Ángel Rodríguez and has downplayed the threats to a conversation between "two people who have had a relationship of confidence for more than thirty years who are arguing on WhatsApp". "I don't understand why this is going around everywhere. Let's see if we can stop getting angry with people that we trust because that also gets leaked", she replied. And she threw everything into the mix, with references connecting this conversation to the amnesty law and the Koldo case. Ayuso stated that she will not "lend herself" to being "put on the same level" as a Spanish government that "makes you ashamed of it" and that, in her opinion, "lies from one week to the next" about the deals it has done with the Basques EH Bildu and the Catalan pro-independence parties, on the amnesty and the budget. "The future of Spain is being negotiated in the hands of a Salvadoran in Switzerland [referring to Francisco Galindo Vélez, the Salvadoran diplomat chosen by the PSOE and Junts as coordinator of their verification mechanism], that is all the transparency that the Spanish government has", she concluded.

On the same day that the conversation was revealed, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez admitted to El País that the messages were true and regretted that they had left the “private and individual” sphere. The president's advisor maintained that the content of the conversation was "an angry way" of saying that was "inventing a case where there was none." In addition, in statements to the EFE agency, Rodríguez said that he and the journalist have argued "a thousand times, some in writing and others without writing" and that he could not expect "a fight with a friend to be news" and that the Spanish government had "all come out" to demand his resignation. "Sánchez has achieved what he intended: for coexistence in Spain to become impossible", he replied.

Miguel Ángel Rodríguez PP País Basc Europa Press
Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, a former communications director for José María Aznar, started working for Isabel Díaz Ayuso in 2019 / Photo: Europa Press


For their part, the Spanish Federation of Journalists' Associations (FAPE) and the Madrid Press Association (APM) have protected and supported the workers at The two institutions consider these threats to be "intolerable pressure that curtails press freedom and attacks the citizens' right to truthful information".