Brazil’s new president is far-right populist who called a congresswoman too ugly to rape

Jair Bolsonaro has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump.

Jair Bolsonaro after voting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 28, 2018. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Jair Bolsonaro after voting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 28, 2018. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right candidate who has been compared to President Donald Trump, is the winner of Brazil’s presidential election, ushering in what one political observer called “a dramatic swing to the right in the world’s fourth-largest democracy.”

“We cannot continue flirting with communism,” said the 63-year-old member of the far-right Social Liberal Party during an acceptance speech on Sunday. “We are going to change the destiny of Brazil.”

Bolsonaro, who has been a politician since shortly after leaving the country’s military in 1988, achieved a sweeping victory despite calling a congresswoman and colleague not “worth raping” and “very ugly” in 2014. A judge ordered the conservative politician to pay Maria do Rosario more than $2,500 in compensation for his remarks.

The former army captain claimed in a 2011 interview that his sons were “very well educated” and consequently incapable of falling in love with a Black woman. He also has referred to immigrants as the “scum of the earth.”


Brazil’s next president said in a 2017 speech that “four of his children are men,” and “then in a moment of weakness the fifth came out a girl.” He explained in a 2016 interview that he would never pay a woman “the same salary as a man” because they can get pregnant.

Bolsonaro also declared in 2011, “I would not be able to love a gay son, I would rather he die in an accident.” He threatened in 2002, in response to then-Brazil president Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s support for gay marriage, “if I see two men kissing each other on the street, I’ll beat them up.”

In January, the far-right populist explained how he spent his housing allowance as a congressman: “Since I was a bachelor at the time, I used the money to have sex with people.”

The conservative politician, who has threatened to withdraw Brazil from the Paris climate agreement, has claimed there are “too many protected areas” in the Amazon rainforest that “stand in the way of development.”

Brazil’s next president also once said “I am in favor of a dictatorship” and lamented the end of the country’s brutal military dictatorship in 1985. Bolsonaro has claimed “I’m pro-torture, and the people are, too,” and threatened to purge political opponents.


Bolsonaro was endorsed by many on the far-right in the United States, including the National Review’s Dinesh D’Souza and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. Bolsonaro’s son tweeted that former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon and he “share the same worldview” after a meeting in August.

ThinkProgress’ Luke Barnes explained why Fernando Haddad, Bolsonaro’s primary opponent, struggled to gain support.

Haddad is handicapped by the fact that the PT was leading the government during the country’s worst recession, from 2013 to 2017, and was embroiled in a massive corruption scandal which ended up resulting in former President Lula da Silva being sent to prison.

Facebook announced that it had shut down “clickbait” accounts supporting Bolsonaro last week. The country dealt with a “tsunami” of fake news during the campaign.


Brazil’s presidential election was marked by violence. Bolsonaro was stabbed at a rally in September. His supporters have been accused of a stabbing death, carving a swastika into the skin of an opposing supporter, and threatening to rape and kill members of the media, among over 50 reported acts of political violence.