SAO PAULO – Brazil’s Social Democratic presidential candidate, Geraldo Alckmin, said on Tuesday he was “horrified” at the remarks of ultrarightist rival Jair Bolsonaro’s running mate, Hamilton Mourao, calling “offensive” the comment that families without “fathers and grandfathers ... (are) factories for unbalanced individuals.”
“I want to emphasize that I was left horrified by Mourao’s statement saying that the children who are raised by mothers or grandmothers are distorted children who end up being recruited by drug trafficking,” the PSDB candidate told reporters during a campaign event in Sao Paulo.
Alckmin’s remarks alluded to comments by Gen. Mourao that families lacking “father and grandfather” figures, and with “only a mother and grandmother” heading the household are “factories for unbalanced individuals who tend to join drug trafficking bands.”
“That is an insult to the mothers who raise their children with difficulties and sacrifice, at times two or three children, all alone,” Alckmin said.
Bolsonaro, an apologist for the 1964-1985 military regime with a penchant for racist, sexist and homophobic remarks, is the favorite in the voter surveys with 28 percent support, despite the fact that most of the country rejects his attitudes and opinions and he is seen as unlikely to win in a presidential runoff.
The former military officer’s controversial public comments have been picked up by Alckmin, currently in fourth place in the presidential contest with 6.1 percent support, and fashioned into the main weapon in his television campaign against Bolsonaro, who is presently recuperating in a hospital after being stabbed at a campaign rally.
When questioned about his attacks on his opponent, Alckmin said that his political strategy is “not to attack anyone,” but rather to “show the risks Brazil is running” if the ultrarightist comes to power.
Meanwhile, center-left presidential hopeful Ciro Gomes, who was also campaigning in Sao Paulo on Tuesday, emphasized that Brazil is experiencing a “little fascist outbreak” that will have to be combated “with democracy,” an allusion to Mourao’s remarks.
On Monday, ecological presidential candidate Marina Silva had said on the social networks that Mourao’s comments were “an affront,” given that he “call(s) the children of 11.6 million women who are heads of households mentally unbalanced.”
On Oct. 7, some 144 million Brazilians will be called to the polls to elect a new president and national lawmakers in the country’s most up-in-the-air elections in recent decades.