Bolsonaro in São Paulo gives repeat of morning speech

bolsonaro são paulo speech
Crowds gathering on Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo. Photo: Fernando Bizerra/EFE via Folhapress

Earlier today, President Jair Bolsonaro addressed crowds protesting in Brasília and announced he would deliver an even more “robust” speech on São Paulo’s iconic Paulista Avenue. But, when he took the stage, he did little more than repeat his earlier address.

Almost word for word, Mr. Bolsonaro began by thanking “the people who trusted him with [almost] 60 million votes.” He then bashed the Supreme Court and the Superior Electoral Court. He also rhymed off one of his favorite anecdotes about a little girl who asked him if it is hard to be president. “It is, I told her. But I do it for you.”

If Mr. Bolsonaro spoke for just two minutes in Brasília, he extended himself a little longer in São Paulo, with an added flourish of vitriol. “I’ll tell those scumbags that I’ll never be jailed — my life belongs to God.” Here, he is likely making a reference to multiple Supreme Court investigations which could — in the worst-case scenario — make him ineligible for office and potentially put him behind bars.

Once again, Mr. Bolsonaro threatened not to abide by Supreme Court rulings he deems undemocratic, as we had revealed he would in the August 23 edition of our Brazil Weekly newsletter. But he failed to mention a meeting of the Council of the Republic. When speaking in Brasília, he said he would call a meeting of the special committee tomorrow.

The Council of the Republic can be called upon in extreme situations, i.e. when the president thinks about calling a state of exception, state of defense, or to discuss questions pertaining to the stability of democratic institutions. The committee is made up of the president, the VP, the House Speaker, the Senate President, the leaders of both the minority and majority, the Justice Minister, and six Brazilian-born citizens over 35, given terms of three years each.

According to estimates by the São Paulo Military Police, roughly 114,000 pro-Bolsonaro supporters attended the Paulista Avenue rally. While a sizable crowd, the figure is far below the government’s forecasts of having 2 million people on the streets of Brazil’s biggest city.

📺 Watch Live: Join The Brazilian Report editor-in-chief Gustavo Ribeiro, editor Euan Marshall, and columnist Beatriz Rey as they discuss what’s in store for Brazil on September 8 and onward. Tuesday at 7 pm (Brazilian time).