Bolsonaro adds fuel to the fire, calling committee rapporteur a “bum”

Bolsonaro adds fuel to the fire, calling committee rapporteur a "bum"
Bolsonaro supporters cheer him on during the inauguration of a housing project. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Wednesday’s session of the Senate’s Covid hearings committee ended with an expletive-laden exchange between Senators Flávio Bolsonaro, the president’s eldest son, and Renan Calheiros, the committee’s rapporteur. “You’re a bum,” Mr. Bolsonaro told Mr. Calheiros — in reference to the multiple corruption allegations he has faced over his career.

Today, President Bolsonaro made sure to keep tensions simmering. During an event in Maceió — the capital of Mr. Calheiros’ home state of Alagoas — Mr. Bolsonaro went even further than his son. “There is always a shyster, a bum who gets in the way,” he said. 

“Jesus had to face a traitor, and we face a bum who is investigating upstanding citizens in our country. That is a crime ongoing within the committee.”

Mr. Calheiros will be responsible for drafting the committee’s final report — which must then be voted on by all 11 members. This document may recommend criminal investigations and suggest indictments to federal prosecutors. By so openly attacking Mr. Calheiros, the president narrows the chance of a less-than-damaging final report.

Reacting to polls

Mr. Bolsonaro also aimed his verbal machine gun at former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, calling him a “nine-fingered thief.” Yesterday, polls showed Lula surpassing the president in a simulated 2022 runoff election, with a lead of over 20 points.