Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lashed out again at journalists Monday, a day after threatening to punch a reporter who questioned him about corruption accusations involving the first lady.
Speaking at an event called “Brazil Beating COVID,” Bolsonaro accused journalists of “malevolence” and “debauchery,” and added that they were “fat-asses” at high risk from the new coronavirus.
The far-right leader, who caught the virus himself in July, said he had recovered thanks to his past as an “athlete” in the army, where he served as captain.
“But when one of you fat-asses catches it, the chances of survival are far less. You only know how to use your pens malevolently,” he told journalists covering the event.
The outburst came a day after Bolsonaro, 65, threatened a reporter who asked him about allegations his wife, Michelle, received money from a political operative targeted in a corruption investigation.
“I so want to pound your mouth with punches,” Bolsonaro told the reporter from leading newspaper O Globo.
Known as the “Tropical Trump,” Bolsonaro has had a tense relationship with the press since taking office in January 2019.
Brazil’s National Journalists’ Federation counted 116 times he attacked the news media last year.
Bolsonaro also used Monday’s event to reiterate his praise for the drug hydroxychloroquine against the coronavirus.
Bolsonaro has railed against the use of lockdown measures to contain COVID-19, instead pushing the anti-malaria drug, despite a slate of scientific studies finding it ineffective against the virus.
“You’ve saved thousands and thousands of lives in Brazil,” he told a group of doctors that, like him, backs using the drug on COVID-19 patients.
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“If hydroxychloroquine hadn’t been politicized, a lot more lives could have been saved.”
Bolsonaro has repeatedly credited hydroxychloroquine with his own recovery from coronavirus.
Brazil has the second-highest number of infections and deaths in the pandemic, after the United States: more than 3.6 million and 115,000, respectively.
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