In another interview last month with PBS Newshour, the prospective ambassador insisted that his father was right to say that one of his female critics “was not worth raping” because “she attacked first Jair Bolsonaro, telling that he is a hapist.” (In Portuguese, Brazilians pronounce the letter “r” at the start of words as an “h.”)
In response to the criticism, the president essentially admitted that the planned nomination was, at least in part, intended to benefit his son. “Of course he’s my child, I want to benefit my child, yes, I intend to,” Jair Bolsonaro said in a weekly Facebook Live broadcast last month. “If I can give my son a filet mignon, I will,” added. “But it has nothing to do with filet mignon this story here. Nothing at all. It is about, actually, that we deepen a relationship with a country that is the largest economic and military power in the world.”
“Poor Eduardo doesn’t have the slightest clue,” Bebianno told the BBC’s Brazilian service last week. “He doesn’t even know the role of an ambassador. He has no idea. I worked closely with Eduardo, he doesn’t know basic notions of negotiation — he is a boy, a little boy, a surfer who was elected because of his father, then surfed his father’s wave again, winning a second term, but he is a completely inexperienced boy.”
As Oliver Stuenkel, a professor of International Relations at Fundação Getulio Vargas in São Paulo, observed on Twitter last week, President Bolsonaro has also reacted to criticism of his son by “making only thinly veiled threats to senators that unless they approve his son’s nomination as Brazil’s Ambassador to Washington, he’ll make him Foreign Minister — which does not require the Senate’s approval.”
For months, reports have suggested that the current foreign minister, Ernesto Araújo, already holds a less important role in foreign policy than the president’s son. For instance, when his father visited the White House in March, it was Eduardo Bolsonaro, not Araújo, who was seated to the Brazilian president’s right during an Oval Office meeting with President Trump.