Egyptian President’s Motorcade Has Its Own Red Carpet

Being the President has its perks.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Motorcade
Egypt State TV via AP

In a tone-deaf move, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt decided to roll out the red carpet for his motorcade on the way to open a social housing project in the suburbs of Cairo. That’s right: His people literally laid down two and a half miles of red carpet for his caravan to drive over.  

Not surprisingly, this did not go over well with the roughly 90 million Egyptians who aren’t president. The images of the president’s motorcade driving on the red road drew outrage on social and traditional media, especially in light of El-Sisi’s efforts to improve Egypt’s economy by cutting expensive state subsidies for services such as water. “How is the president asking us to tighten our belts while the four kilometer red carpet says otherwise?” blared the headline of Egypt’s Al Maqal newspaper.

When pressed to explain the facts behind the use of the not-so-magic red carpet, Egyptian brigadier general Ehab el-Ahwagy claimed the carpet had been used periodically over the last few years for a variety of different events, and besides, Egyptians totally like seeing their leader drive on a red carpet because it makes them look better in the eyes of the rest of the world.

“It gives a kind of joy and assurance to the Egyptian citizen that our people and our land and our armed forces are always capable of organizing anything in a proper manner,” el-Ahwagy said.

Just how firm was his tongue in his cheek?