President Jair Bolsonaro criticized Tuesday for telling Brazilians not to deal with Covid-19 like “a land of fagots,” the far-right leader’s latest controversial outbreak against the pandemic.
Bolsonaro, who has consistently downplayed the virus even though it killed 163,000 people in Brazil – the second highest death toll in the world after the US – made a meandering speech at the presidential palace in which he also appeared threatening US President-elect Joe Biden.
“All anyone talks about these days is the pandemic. We have to stop it,” Bolsonaro said during the speech allegedly related to tourism.
“I regret death. I really do. But we will all die one day. There is no point in escaping reality. We have to stop being a land of fags … We have to face it and fight . I hate that fagot. “
It was the latest in a long list of controversial statements about the pandemic from Bolsonaro, who condemned the “hysteria” over Covid-19, compared the new coronavirus to a “minor flu” and claimed the Brazilian immune system was strong enough to allow it swim in raw sewage and “catch nothing”.
The president also sparked controversy with a veiled push on Biden, who angered Bolsonaro by urging his government to better protect the Amazon rainforest.
Bolsonaro, a passionate supporter of President Donald Trump, is one of the few world leaders who did not congratulate Biden on his election victory, which Trump did not accept.
“Recently, a major presidential candidate said if I didn’t extinguish the wildfires in the Amazon, he would impose trade sanctions on Brazil,” Bolsonaro said, apparently referring to a comment Biden made during his first debate with Trump in September.
“How do you deal with something like that? Diplomacy alone doesn’t work … You have to have gunpowder. You don’t have to use it. But they have to know you have it.”
His comments immediately sparked an outcry from critics.
“Between ‘gunpowder’ and ‘fags’ we have more than 160,000 dead in the country,” tweeted the speaker of the lower house of Congress, Rodrigo Maia.
“Our solidarity with all friends and family members of the victims of Covid-19.”
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)