There is an anecdote, widely known, that tells that in the palace of El Pardo there was a little light that never went out. He was the leader, Francisco Franco, working for and for Spain. Thus the official propaganda of the regime was sold. But times have been modernized. During the time of Mariano Rajoy as president of the Government there was also a little light in the palace of La Moncloa. But this fire, instead of not going out, was clinking in the morning. It meant that the president was exercising on his static machines. There was a treadmill and his longed for bike, the object he misses the most.
The former president of the Government has reappeared in the public sphere that he had left almost at the same time that he left La Moncloa. And he has done it in a pop way in the El Hormiguero program, presented by Pablo Motos. Like Francisco Umbral, Rajoy has again put himself under the spotlight to talk about his book, of memoirs, A better Spain, whose title refers to the last words he pronounced in office.RELATED
In the program, Rajoy told a little politics and some anecdotes. One of the most anticipated: that he did not remember what he had taken in the restaurant that afternoon of the motion of censure, when the Spaniards were temporarily chaired by a bag, that of Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, who posed it in the boss's seat of the Executive. But there was a novelty, a new anecdote for the Rajoy inventory.
Mariano Rajoy, this Tuesday in 'El Hormiguero'.
Did you forget something in the Moncloa that you were sad to leave ?, asked Trancas or Barrancas, one of the ants of the program, it is never easy to say. "Yes, an exercise bike," the former president replied. “And I have it there in a… because it didn't fit me at home. So, I have to see what I do with her, but she is in La Moncloa. But hey, I can lend it to anyone, it's there, ”he added.
Now, the question is, where is the bicycle? When Pedro Sánchez entered the palace of La Moncloa, he tells himself that the first thing he did was to get rid of Mariano Rajoy's mattress. Following the tradition initiated by Calvo-Sotelo, the immediate thing that is done in the palace when there is a new tenant is to change the mattress, sheets and towels. These are donated to an NGO. But the bicycle does not have the same symbolic value, it has more, it is what it misses the most.
And Rajoy, passionate about sport as it was and still was, has always given importance to practice it. As he has commented part of his circle near EL ESPAÑOL, his favorite sport was to go for a quick walk – in the manner of Rajoy, between yes and no – through the gardens of La Moncloa. But that only when it was hot. When it was too cold the president climbed into the residential part of the palace, on the second floor. There were the treadmill and the exercise bike. And, just below, the light that clinked and warned the workers around them that the boss was exercising.
Abandoned in a warehouse
"Rajoy's relationship with the sport was total," explains one of the closest of his team to this newspaper. "It was known until the result of the last badminton game and, when he was in the car with him, most of the conversations were about sport, he was obsessed," he says in a caring tone.
But he also practiced it and, for that, he had military discipline. The chief of the Executive used to get up at 7:00 in the morning every day and spent the first hour, until 8.00, either walking or on his static machines, his beloved bicycle between them. “This served to guide the day, it was totally necessary for him, even when he was leaving Spain,” adds the source, who has asked to remain anonymous. "In seven years he was president of the Government, he never got bad, he never got sick, and he blamed him for sports," he says.
“When I was in La Moncloa, he was more fond of hiking, but previously he did more exercise bike,” he says. But he didn't abandon her at all. Not only because he had one in his residence and because he missed it now, but because the exercise bike also serves as a metaphor for the way he governed.
At many key moments, it seemed that Rajoy displayed a strange immobility, as if it were not with him, difficult for many to understand. But then he showed that he knew how to handle political times like nobody else and ended up achieving the square of the circle; like an exercise bike that, it seems not, but moves.
However, despite his love, Rajoy had to leave her there. First, because the move out of La Moncloa was express. Second, because he had no place to put it in his house and there he stayed. But he doesn't forget her. “I have to see what I do with her,” he said in El Hormiguero.
Mariano Rajoy during the presentation of his book.
Surely, unless Pedro Sánchez has wanted to appropriate it, the bicycle has gone to a kind of warehouse in La Moncloa, according to its surroundings. Located near the service house, there is a space to put all those memories of former presidents. But the bicycle is not the only thing that has ended there. For example, José María Aznar had showcases with the gifts of foreign leaders who were called “the museum of horrors” because of the baroque nature of it. That also went to the warehouse when José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero arrived. You know, new times, new memories.
The express move
On June 1, 2018, a motion of censure was thriving for the first time in the history of Spain. The victim, Mariano Rajoy, ended like this, as suddenly, his stage as President of the Government. Apart from the policy, at that moment in which Pedro Sánchez was appointed as the new chief of the Executive, a silent machinery began to be put in place to physically, effectively, change the position holder.
"The departure from La Moncloa was very fast," says his confidant. “The boxes were made in 48 hours, and not only the family but the entire cabinet did it. I remember his wife was exhausted. She got, like everyone else, to make boxes and organize things and it was very hard, ”he adds. In those, what to do with the exercise bike? As there was nowhere to put it and there was a hurry, it was left there.
Mariano Rajoy and Pedro Sánchez, in front of the facade of the palace of La Moncloa.
There is an anecdote that perfectly sums up the speed with which everything was done, also driven by the rush Pedro Sánchez had for sleeping and taking his place in La Moncloa. On the night of the motion of censure, on a Friday, a small party was held for Mariano Rajoy by his team and the palace workers. After the party, a car picked up Rajoy and took him to the palace, but some of his team were still there.
In those, Juan Manuel Serrano – who was Sánchez's chief of staff and is now the president of the Post Office – called José Luis Ayllón, chief of staff of Mariano Rajoy who replaced Jorge Moragas. As EL ESPAÑOL has learned, Serrano asked Ayllón that when Rajoy had planned to leave La Moncloa to see if Sanchez could sleep that same weekend. The motion materialized on a Friday afternoon.
Returning to the interview in El Hormiguero, when Rajoy said that he had left the bicycle, one of the ants added: "Here it is said, if you want to send it to him." The other said: “I have seen one in Wallapop. Let's see if Pedro Sánchez is going to sell it. So be careful". And, at that moment, Rajoy made a face, opened his mouth, as if he were going to say something that ended up being silent. "He has a good thing," explains his close, "do not notice, does not express his feelings and is a radically strong person, does not go with melancholy."