BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticized his former justice minister, Sergio Moro, on Thursday, saying the potential opposition presidential candidate had “learned nothing” from his time in government.
Moro, a former federal judge who rose to fame for leading a sweeping corruption probe which jailed a series of powerful businessmen and politicians including former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, re-entered the political fray on Wednesday. He has joined the Podemos party, presenting himself as a unifying centrist.
“Did you like his speech yesterday?,” Bolsonaro asked supporters as he left the presidential palace in Brasilia.
“The guy was reading. I watched because he used to be my minister. He learned nothing. One year and four months in the job and he has no idea what it means to be president, not even to be a minister,” Bolsonaro added.
Although Moro’s corruption busting brought him fame, his star has fallen in recent years as Lula’s conviction was reversed and he joined Bolsonaro’s government.
Bolsonaro’s hiring of Moro was widely seen as a coup for the president, who ran on an anti-corruption platform that appealed to many in Brazil tired by years of graft scandals.
But their relationship soured after Moro accused the president of seeking to meddle in federal law enforcement to protect his family from sensitive probes. Since then, many have accused Bolsonaro of slackening the anti-corruption stance that helped get him elected.
(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; writing by Stephen Eisenhammer; editing by Jonathan Oatis)