During Jair Bolsonaro’s election campaign, the figure of his vice president drew all sorts of consternation, even from Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters. Army Reserve General Hamilton Mourão, of the fancifully named far-right Brazilian Labor Renewal Party, spent most of 2018 being judged as a liability. Perceived as a prejudiced motor-mouth, constantly spouting shocking sound bytes to flabbergasted reporters, and advocating for the hardline military which backed the Jair Bolsonaro campaign (he even backed the idea of a military coup in 2017), Gen. Mourão represented as good of a reason as any not to vote for Mr. Bolsonaro.
However, since Jair Bolsonaro’s election victory, a quite incredible shift has taken place. While the nascent government has been shrouded in crisis, Gen. Mourão has been treated as a moderate force within the administration. Whereas previously the Bolsonaro campaign tried its best to keep the general away from journalists’ microphones, since taking power he has successfully been able to soften the government’s image.