Last Friday, Jair Bolsonaro decided to make a confusing and incriminating statement in reaction to the departure of his Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro.
For forty minutes, TV viewers watched the largely improvised speech in astonishment, as the sound of panelaço protest echoed around Brazil’s towns and cities.
Read the full transcript of the Brazilian President’s TV address, translated by Nathália Urban.
“Gentlemen, ladies, good afternoon. My ministers, press, the Brazilian people who are watching me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. It is one thing to admire a person. The other is to live with them, to work with them.
This morning, by coincidence, having breakfast with some members of parliament, I’ve told them: “Today you will meet that person who has a commitment to himself, to his ego, and not to Brazil”. What I have by my side, and I will always have, was the Brazilian people. Today, this person is going to look for a way to put a wedge between me and the Brazilian people.
This happened a few hours ago.
A brief history: We all know Mr. Sergio Moro from his decisions at the Federal Court of Curitiba. Lava Jato already existed, but no one denies its brilliant work.
I personally had the first contact with Mr. Sergio Moro on March 30, 2017, at Brasília airport, where he was standing in a Cafè and I went to greet him. He pretty much ignored me. The whole press reported this, discrediting me. I confess I was sad, because he was an idol to me. I was just a federal deputy, a humble deputy, as most of those in the Brazilian parliament are. I won’t say that I cried because It would be a lie, but I was very sad.
To my surprise, a few days later, I was in Parnamirim (RN) and received a call from him, where, obviously, his conscience rang and he talked to me about the episode. I ended the matter. I felt somewhat comforted. The time has passed. Me, in a pre-campaign, and he with his sentences in Curitiba. As time went by, I went on a campaign and as, in my understanding, they had no way to stop me, they tried to assassinate me. Obviously, this marks the history of a nation and much more my life, that of my family, especially my daughter Laura who is 9 years old. The first round is over. I went on to the second round with Mr. Fernando Haddad, from Worker’s Party-PT. In the meantime, I was down at (Albert Eistein Hospital) Einstein, in São Paulo, I received a call from a person who wanted to make Mr. Sergio Moro visit me. I was happy, but I declined. He was not with me during the campaign. I don’t know who he voted for in the first round, and I don’t even want to know. The vote is sacred and secret.
But I avoided talking to him at that moment, between the first and second rounds, because this visit would certainly be made public. And I did not want to take advantage of his prestige to achieve victory in the second round.
Then, after our victory, the victory of democracy, freedom, free elections, I received Mr. Sergio Moro at my house in Barra da Tijuca. Present at my side was Mr. Paulo Guedes, the man I had already chosen to be Minister of Economy. Then we outlined something about how he would be treated if he accepted our invitation to be Minister of Justice. Obviously, I repeat, he did not participate in my campaign.
We got it right, as I did with all the ministers: You will have autonomy in your ministry. Autonomy is not a sign of sovereignty, I’ve also spoken of my veto power, key positions would have to pass through my hands and I would give the green light or not. For all ministers, it was done this way. Over 90% of these positions, which have passed through my hands, I gave the green light. So it was also with Mr. Valeixo, until yesterday director-general of our glorious and honorable Federal Police. Mr. Sergio Moro’s nomination, despite the 2014 law saying that the nomination for this position and the appointment is exclusive to the President of the Republic. I gave that up, because I trusted Mr. Sergio Moro and he took his team – or brought his team – here to Brasília. All key positions were from Curitiba, including the Federal Highway Police. Of course, it surprised me. Could it be that the best PF staff were all in Curitiba? But we will trust, we will give credit. And so we started to work.
The gentlemen of the press are well aware that I do not count on the exemption, most of the time, by you in the published articles. From the beginning, it has been already said that I was making operations to fight corruption difficult, because operations, with much less intensity, appeared. But it is obvious that this was going to happen: if our nominations for ministries, official and state banks did not go through party nominations, it is obvious that the source of corruption was not as abundant as in the past.
It started hitting me as if I was against Lava Jato. This is not true. The large Federal Police operations in the past were over state-owned companies or contractors that carried out works and extracted resources via official banks, especially the BNDES. We put an end to that.
This was very expensive for me. Powerful people have risen against me, and it is a reality. It’s the truth. I am fighting against a system, against the establishment. Things that happened in Brazil, practically do not happen anymore. And excuse me for the modesty: In large part, for my courage to appoint a team of ministers committed to the future of Brazil.
It is still not easy. But you can be sure: nowadays, I’m counting on many parliamentarians within the National Congress who already share this thesis. From various parties, except the far-left, because what they want, in the end, is to steal our freedom. As far as I am concerned, I will do my best to prevent this from happening.
Tell the esteemed ex-minister Sergio Moro, as you said today in your press conference three times. You said you had a biography to look out for; I tell your excellency that I have a Brazil to watch over. Not only did I take an oath, when I sat down in 1973, at the Preparatory School for Cadets, in Campinas, to give my life for my country if necessary.
More than life, for my homeland, I have given. I have given my family discomfort. The most vile accusations possible. Not only against my family, but also those who are by my side. There was talk of my interference with the Federal Police. Oh heck, if I can change a minister, why can’t I, according to the law, change the director of the Federal Police? I don’t have to ask the authorisation from anyone to change the director or anyone else who is in the hierarchical pyramid of the executive branch.
Is it to interfere in the Federal Police almost to demand, to beg Sergio Moro, to find out who ordered the killing of Jair Bolsonaro? Sergio Moro’s PF was more concerned with Marielle than of his supreme chief.
I asked them a lot about this. I didn’t interfere. I think that all good people in Brazil want to know. I understand, I’m sorry, former minister, between my case and Marielle’s, mine is much less difficult to solve. After all, the perpetrator was caught in the act of misdemeanor, more people testified, phones were seized. Two renowned lawyers, in less than 24 hours, were there to defend the killer.
Is that interfering with the Federal Police? Could it be that asking the Federal Police, almost begging, via ministers, for the Marielle case to be investigated, in the case of my house nº 58, on Lúcio Costa Avenue, 3,100? We almost by chance happened to find out. If I didn’t ask my son to go to the concierge and film the answering machine, perhaps everyone would be in doubt that I could be involved in this. This was on a Wednesday in March 2018, where between the doorman’s call to my home and my fingerprints on the Chamber’s presence panels had a gap of less than an hour. I was not there. Then, the expertise of the Civil Police of Rio still comes to the conclusion that that voice is not the voice of the doorman in question.
Is it interfering with the Federal Police to demand an investigation of this doorman, what happened to him? Was he bribed? Was he threatened? Does he suffer from his mental faculties? What happened to him to speak with such propriety a fact that existed almost a year ago? Is it demanding a lot from the Federal Police, via the Minister, for this doorman to be investigated?
With all due respect to all the lives of Brazil, I believe that the life of the President of the Republic has meaning. After all, he is the head of the state.
Is that interfering with the Federal Police? Asking this of your Federal Police? I confess that, over time, as I’ve told you, it is one thing to have an image, to know a person. The other is to live with it.
I never asked him for the Federal Police to shield me wherever I went. When it comes to corruption, I mean my private life. In the last two years of parliament, I spent less than half of what I could spend of your parliamentary quota on airfare, on fuel, on food, on rent.
In the life of the President of the Republic, I have three corporate cards. Two are used for expenses, as varied as possible. After all, more than 100 people are in my safety every day. Household expenses, normal. And a third card, which I can withdraw R$24K per month without being accountable. I can withdraw R$24K and spend it wherever I want, without accountability. How much have I’ve used from this money since January last year? Zero. This is an obligation. I turned off the heater of the Alvorada Olympic pool. We changed the menu. But this has nothing to do, it is my obligation. But just to remember that I am concerned with the public thing and I try to set an example.
When it comes to interference – there is a minister of mine as important as the others, because we are a chain, no link is more important than the chain itself. Paulo Guedes. When I saw that Inmetro, which is an agency similar, of course, each one in their role, with the Federal Police, with the PRF, with the Secretariat of Culture of Marcelo Álvaro Antonio, among many others. I said: “Paulo Guedes, I will implode Inmetro, because what I discovered there. We cannot let the people suffer this way”.
They wanted to exchange 1.6 million drivers’ tachographs, each tachograph costing R$ 1900. Whoever was going to pay the bill was the truck driver, the van driver, the bus driver. They wanted to change all the taximeters in Brazil. In my state of Rio de Janeiro alone, 40,000 taxi drivers would have to buy a new taximeter. They wanted a chip in each fuel pump, where we learned that it would not be effective. That bill was not for the people to pay. Inmetro’s obligation is, of course, to attest to the quality of many things and, preferably, of course, to avoid burdening our already suffering Brazilian people – who, despite the burden of taxes they have … We imploded Inmetro. And the Federal Police? Published by you yesterday, but forget the press. Yesterday, in a videoconference, Mr. Valeixo addressed all 27 of his superintendents and said that, since January, he had been telling Mr. Sergio Moro that he would leave the Federal Police. Superintendents are proof of that. I sometimes spoke to Sergio Moro about the Federal Police. When I got elected, there was an idea on the part of the police – many worked with me, around 60 in turns, I had the right to do so by law, even to a greater force for being the candidate with the greatest chance. And yet, despite all the work, the Federal Police was unable to prevent the attempted murder.
But I say: It was the Federal Police, with its technical, preventive work, that was also a link in the salvation of my life. Because at every point, at every corner I passed, they had a plan for my evacuation in case I suffered something. So the Federal Police, first of all, I owe my life to these men, as well as some military policemen from Brasília and Rio who were voluntarily there in Juiz de Fora (MG). And what I want, that we want from the Federal Police: that it be used to its fullest. May its operations at least be kept in what depends on me, enhanced, which is with its work that we give hope to the Brazilian population at first. The fight against corruption, the fight against organized crime and, as Mr. Valeixo said he was tired, I’ve started to make arrangements with the minister to change the director general of the Federal Police. It was his intention, as he had declared yesterday, that since January he wanted to leave.
We get tired, we are not machines. Yesterday, I spoke to Mr. Sergio Moro, just me and him, as most of the time (in) our conversations. Where we – I’ve always opened my heart to him, I’ve doubts if he has always opened his heart to me.
I always said to my ministers, “Trust has to be two-ways.” Does the Minister want me to trust him? Want and it is right. But I also want the minister to trust me. I’ve always said to him: “Moro, I have no information from the Federal Police. I have to have a report every day of what happened, especially in the last 24 hours, to be able to decide the future of this nation well”. I’ve never asked him to proceed with any case, not least because Intelligence with him lost space in the courts. Almost begging for information.
And so I always collected information from the other official government intelligence agencies, such as Abin, which is headed by a Federal Police delegate. A person I met during my campaign, who has a name and is respected by his teammates.
And talking to Moro yesterday, among many things, until he arrived at the Valeixo’s issue. I said: “It is time to put an end to this. He is tired, he is doing his job as he can. Personally, I have nothing against him”. I’ve spoken to him a few times during a year and four months. Yes, a few times, but I talked to him. Most of the time, Sergio Moro was on the side. I said that tomorrow, today, the Official Gazette of the Union would publish Mr. Valeixo’s dismissal. And for all it seemed, the exoneration on request.
Well, he was reluctant, Mr. Sergio Moro, and said: “But the name (nomination) has to be mine”. I’ve said: “Let’s talk. Why does it have to be yours and not mine? Or else, let’s take it, since there is no political, technical or human interference, take those who have conditions and make a draw”. Why does it have to be his and not possibly mine, or one of consensus between the two of us? And I remembered the 2014 law, which is my recommendation, it is my prerogative.
And the day that I have to submit to any of my subordinates, I will stop being president of the Republic. I will never sin by omission.
I said to him: “I want a delegate, who may not be yours, may not be mine, but that I feel, in addition to the obvious competence, although this is a common thing among Federal Police delegates, that I can “Interact with him. Why not? I interact with the Armed Forces intelligence men, if necessary. I interact with Abin. I interact with anyone in the government.”
I always look for the minister. But in a necessity, I speak directly to that minister’s top echelon. Like yesterday, or the day before yesterday, I had to decide something and it had to do with the Navy. As it was exclusively with the Navy, I’ve decided at that time not to speak to the Ministry of Defense, I spoke directly with the Navy and it was resolved according to their interest. Then I spoke to the Ministry of Defense. This is not a breach of hierarchy, it is a necessity.
I can’t give that up, just as the Minister of Defense can call the battalion commander directly without going through the brigade commander, if necessary. Then he participates, to prevent us from harming the hierarchy principle. And more, since he talked about some particularities. More than once, Mr. Sergio Moro said to me: “You can change Valeixo, yes, but in November, after you refer me to the Federal Supreme Court”. I’m sorry, but that’s not it. I recognize your qualities. When I get there, if one day I can do a good job, but I don’t change.
And another thing: it is demoralizing for the president to hear that. More so to externalize. Or do not change, because it was not changed, suggest the exchange of two superintendents among 27. The one in Rio, due to the issue of the doorman, the issue of my son “04” Renan, who is now 20, 21 years old.
When, in the heat of the matter of the doorman, in the Adélio case, the two ex-policemen would have gone to talk to me, it also appeared that my son 04 would have dated the daughter of this ex-sergeant. I’ve started to chase after it. First, I called my son (and said): “come clean”. “Dad, I‘ve dated half the condo, I don’t even remember who this girl is, if I was with her”.
Today life is like that.
The intention of saying that my son was dating the ex-sergeant’s daughter was that we had a family relationship. I don’t remember him. It may even be that I took a picture with him – during the pre-campaign, campaign, it was common for me to take an average of 500 photographs a day, because that was my press.
And then I’ve made a request to the Federal Police, almost as a favour: Go to Mossoró (RN) and interrogate the ex-sergeant. They went there, the Federal Police did their job, interrogated and the copy of the interrogation is with me where he simply says the following: “My daughter never dated the son of President Jair Bolsonaro because my daughter always lived in the United States”.
But do I have to chase after this? Or is it the minister, the Federal Police who have to be interested? It is not to shield me because I am not involved in any crime. The media, other institutions, already turned me upside down, shook everything. They even dig up that, at the age of five, the Época magazine, I called a woman fat in Eldorado Paulista.
They’ve found out, and I didn’t even know it, that my wife’s grandmother had already been jailed for three years for drug trafficking.
I confess I didn’t know, and if I did, I would have married Mrs. Michelle anyway. I’ve also heard from you that Mrs. Michelle’s mother committed a crime of falsehood. In her innocence, instead of having plastic surgery to look younger, prettier, she decided to have surgery on her birth certificate by decreasing her age by ten years. That was her crime. This was made public to escrotizar (to ridicule, from word “scrotum”), to say that she has no character.
The Queiroz case: I have known Queiroz since 1984, in the 8th Paratrooper Campaign Artillery Group. He went to the Military Police. After a while, we became friends, he came to work with me, with my son. Whatever he does, he is responsible for his actions. It wasn’t for one, it was twice that Queiroz owed me. He paid me by check and that check didn’t come into my account because I just left it in Rio de Janeiro. Otherwise it would be in my account. And it was not R$24K , it was R$40K.
From the first moment, it is not because a person happens to do something wrong and is on our side, (that) you have to be held responsible and constantly charged for it.I’ve never asked to shield anyone in my family. I would never do that. Now, I regret that the person who had to defend most within a legal framework does not. There was, indeed, a heavy climate for the minister at the last meeting of ministers, where I demanded of him, in front of all the other ministers, that he took a stance on the prison and handcuffs used against women on the beach. Women in a public square, as in Araraquara (SP). A poor man, a humble commerce worker in Piauí, among many others. He had to show his face. He is supported by the Authority Abuse Act. This law, which, as a law, does not have to be questioned, discussed; it has to be fulfilled. Who is against it, who presents an ADI (Direct Action of Unconstitutionality) with the competent body so that it can judge d before the Federal Supreme Court. His answer was silence. Good stories he appears but omits himself. My life, my actions, many times, they are bursting with explosion. I cannot admit to curtailing the right to come and go from anyone. And the law that talks about it, in the case of pandemics, is someone who has been proven infected. The decision of these coercive measures rests with the respective governors and mayors. So decided the Supreme Federal Court. And once it is decided, it is not for me to question further.
Mayors, some, some governors, on top of that, are doing, committing tremendous absurdities. And the Federal Government has to take a stand. You have to petition the Federal Supreme Court, file lawsuits. And who has to do that? The president or the minister in charge? It bothered him.
He is, unfortunately, a disarmamentist (sic.) minister. Huge difficulties with decrees to facilitate, for CACs or for those who have a weapon, the purchase of weapons, ammunition.
What I defended during the campaign and pre-campaign, ministers are obliged to be with me. Otherwise, they are not in the right government.
I have no regrets about Mr. Sergio Moro. This morning, I believe that seven or eight deputies, or half a dozen, had breakfast with me. And they are at ease whether they want to speak or not. I’ve told them: “Today you are going to meet those who really do not want me in the presidential seat. That someone is not in the Judiciary, nor is he in the Brazilian parliament.” I didn’t tell them the name. I said: “You will meet him at 11 am”.
Repeating to you: it came with a wedge. If he wants to have independence, as I have, authority, or if he wanted to, he could have been a candidate in 2018. Now, I can’t live with, or it is difficult to live with, a person who thinks quite differently from you. A fact that was reported a lot at the beginning of last year: he appointed Mrs. Ilona Szabó as alternate member of a council, and we know that this miss or misses has publications, as varied as possible, defending abortion, gender ideology, among so many other things that are in complete disagreement with the flags that I defended, that Brazilian Christians also defended, and that even atheists defended as well. It was not easy to get exoneration from that person, because all the time you gave me carte blanche and a closed gate. But he almost always remembered the veto power.
I hoped to work, a lot. But unfortunately, or fortunately, today, after this conversation yesterday, I was even signaled that he would appear for the Presidency – and would be well received, as Mr. Mandetta was a few days ago – to report his departure, or to try the final card. “There are more of these names here for DG (Federal Police general directorate), do you agree with any of them or not?”; and then take action.
I have always been about dialogue. You will not find any minister of mine saying that I imposed anything on him. He solved it, scheduling a press conference, and made baseless accusations that I regret. For many, it will tarnish his much-heralded biography.
We who are on the front line, we ministers, there is something more important than your biography. It is the well-being of our people, it is the future of this nation. We will take, in the figurative sense, a lot of shots in the face. But we will fulfill the mission. Here there is a minister who is ‘beaten’ every day, like Abraham Weintraub, for example. Others are beaten too, but this is an example. The fight against indoctrination for decades, where it has been demonstrating that education in Brazil has never been so bad. Not only do the Pisa tests show that we are last in several subjects in South America, last in the world. This has to be changed.
He tries and has been demonstrating with a lot of work that it is not worth, gentlemen parents, ladies mothers, that your son has a piece of paper written “diploma”. It has to do that occupation. Today, the diploma has become just a decorative figure for students. He has to be a good professional, not a good activist.
Three very short pages just here I will read and close this press conference:
My commitment is to Brazil and to democracy. I have always given my ministers full freedom, without giving up my veto power and my authority as President of the Republic. I have always maintained republican dialogues with all my ministers. We have disagreements and convergences, but in any situation, I kept respect for everyone’s opinion. I have always been loyal to them.
Yesterday, once again, we talked, with Minister Sergio Moro, about the replacement in the Federal Police. Together with the Minister, he hoped to define a name to direct the institution, even though, by law, this is the exclusive prerogative of the President of the Republic.
I am disappointed and surprised by your behavior. He did not deign to seek me out and preferred a press conference to communicate his decision.
My commitment is to the truth, without distortions. The insinuations I would like to know about ongoing investigations are not true. In the almost 16 months in which he was in charge of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Sergio Moro knows that I never sought him out to interfere in the investigations that were being carried out, except those that did not see interference, but almost as a plea, about Adélio, the doorman and my son 04.
Regarding the dismissal of Dr. Valeixo, director general of the Federal Police, by law 13.047 / 2014, the appointment of the director general, as well as several other direct administration positions, is the prerogative of the President of the Republic. The dismissal occurred after a conversation with the Minister of Justice yesterday morning. In the evening, Dr. Valeixo and I talked by phone and he agreed to the dismissal on request.
Sorry, Minister, you are not going to call me a liar. There is no more serious charge for a man like me, military, Christian, president of the Republic, (than) to be accused of it.
That was my conversation with Dr. Valeixo. And even more so: not only did the press publish yesterday and today, as well as, in quotes, Dr. Valeixo, in contact with the Superintendence of Brazil, communicating that he was tired, that since January he wanted to leave. So it was not a dismissal that would surprise anyone.
The PF is an institution of the State, it must conduct itself in accordance with the Federal Constitution and the laws of the country, no matter who conducts them. I don’t give up on that. There is no possibility of interference with the Federal Police. Its own structure and its professionals guarantee autonomy of its investigations. This autonomy is inherent to the institution, independent of governments.
I cannot accept my authority confronted by any minister. As well as respect for everyone, I expect the same behavior. Trust is a two-way street.
I will remain faithful to all Brazilians, I will continue to fight corruption, criminal organizations and work to reduce crime.
The government continues. The government cannot lose its authority for personal reasons of someone who anticipates to other projects.
I fight the good fight. My concern is to deliver Brazil to whoever succeeds me in the future, much better than I received it in January last year. I trust my ministers, the civil servants who have helped us to overcome these obstacles. Brazil is bigger than any of us.
This is our commitment, this is our duty to serve the country.
The homeland will have its commitment, its sacrifice, for each one of us. And if possible, if necessary, your blood to defend democracy and freedom.
My thanks to all of you.”