RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he’s considering nominating his son to be ambassador to the United States, raising a storm of complaints Friday alleging nepotism and questioning his qualifications.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, who is currently a congressman, met with Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo on Friday and told reporters that the minister “expressed support” for his nomination.
The president himself said Thursday that such a nomination “is something on my radar,” and ticked off a list of his son’s qualifications for the post: “My son Eduardo speaks English, he speaks Spanish. He’s travelled all over the world. He’s friends with Donald Trump’s children.”
“My understanding is that he could be a qualified person and would be the perfect message to Washington,” Bolsonaro added.
That set off an uproar among opposition lawmakers.
“It’s absurd that he’s even being considered. Bolsonaro wants to govern in his backyard, extending (the government) to his family…. Eduardo Bolsonaro’s nomination for ambassador is unacceptable,” tweeted Senate opposition leader Randolfe Rodrigues.
He called the move “unprecedent in the history of Brazilian diplomacy” and said he was “certain” the Senate would not approve the nomination.
Congressman Ivan Valente of the leftist Socialism and Liberty Party said the nomination would be unethical. “This is a complete mess. An international embarrassment,” he tweeted.
A 2008 Supreme Court decision prohibits Brazilian authorities from nominating close family members to official posts, but the ruling was vague and Bolsonaro’s allies argue it doesn’t apply in this case.
When asked by reporters about his qualifications for the position, Eduardo Bolsonaro said he had been in a foreign exchange program where he “fried hamburgers in the United States, in the cold in Maine” and “in the cold in Colorado, on a mountain there.”
A 2017 YouTube video shows him standing in front of a Popeyes chicken counter recounting his time in the U.S. in 2004-2005.
Eduardo Bolsonaro also noted that he heads the foreign relations commission in the lower house of Congress.
The Associated Press wrote this story. The PBS NewsHour produced the video, with reporting by PBS NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz