Brazilian president slammed for using homophobic slur to downplay COVID-19

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro came under fire this week for using a homophobic slur to downplay the coronavirus pandemic.

The far-right leader used the Portuguese word “maricas,” which translates to the English-language “f–got,” while whining about the deadly outbreak in remarks Tuesday at the presidential palace in Brasilia.

“I regret the deaths. I really do,” Bolsonaro said, according to a translation by Agence France Presse.

“But we’re all going to die someday. There’s no use fleeing reality. We have to stop being a country of f-gs… We have to face up to it and fight.”

Bolsonaro, who himself went through a bout of COVID-19 over the summer, also complained that “all anyone talks about these days is the pandemic … we need to stop that.”

It was the latest in a slew of controversial comments about the pandemic from the South American president, who has previously condemned the “hysteria” around the virus and compared it to “a little flu.”

Brazil is currently the third worst-hit country after the US and India, with close to 5.7 million infections and at least 162,000 deaths from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

During his meandering remarks Tuesday, Bolsonaro, an ardent supporter of President Trump, also took a thinly-veiled swipe at president-elect Joe Biden for urging his administration to better protect the Amazon rainforest.

“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,” Bolsonaro said, apparently referring to comments Biden made during his first debate with Trump in September.

“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 is one of a number of world leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, who are holding off congratulating Biden on his 2020 presidential victory as Trump continues to refuse to concede and pursues legal challenges surrounding the vote.

His comments sparked immediate outcry from critics.

“Between ‘gunpowder’ and ‘f-gs,’ we have more than 160,000 dead in the country,” Rodrigo Maia, the speaker of the lower house of Brazil’s congress wrote on Twitter.

“Our solidarity to all the friends and family of victims of COVID-19.”

With Post wires

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