The far-right leader made the shocking remarks in a speech at the presidential palace on Tuesday, addressing a country that has suffered over 5.7 million infections and 163,000 deaths from coronavirus.
“I regret the deaths. I really do. But we’re all going to die someday. There’s no use fleeing reality,” he said. “We have to stop being a country of fags… We have to face up to it and fight. I hate this faggot stuff.”
The “faggot stuff” Bolsonaro describes presumably refers to taking basic precautions like wearing a mask, which the self-described “proud homophobe” has previously refused to do because they’re “too gay”.
His cavalier attitude resulted predictably resulting in him catching the virus, despite his earlier claims that he was simply too macho to be sickened.
Unfortunately, it’s also led to Brazil racking up the second highest coronavirus death toll in the world. When previously confronted on the tragic figures, Bolsonaro replied: “So what? I’m sorry, but what do you want me to do?”
The president apparently saw the recent suspension of Chinese vaccine trials as a vindication of his controversial views, as on Tuesday he declared the news to be “another victory for Jair Bolsonaro”.
His unfathomable logic sparked outrage across Brazil, with one prominent leftist leader tweeting: “Prison’s not enough for scumbags who play politics with a vaccine.”
But Brazilians weren’t the only ones offended by Bolsonaro’s bizarre, meandering speech, which was supposedly about tourism but ended with what appeared to be a veiled threat against Joe Biden.
“Recently, a big-shot presidential candidate said if I didn’t put out the wildfires in the Amazon he would impose trade sanctions on Brazil,” he said.
“How do you deal with that kind of thing? 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.”
Bolsonaro, a strong supporter of Donald Trump to whom he is often compared, is among the few world leaders who have not acknowledged Biden’s US election win.