Jair Bolsonaro was born on 21 March 1955 in the city of Glicério, São Paulo, in the southeast region of Brazil, to Perci Geraldo Bolsonaro and Olinda Bonturi, both of Italian descent.
Bolsonaro has been married three times and has five children. His first wife was Rogéria Bolsonaro (with whom he has three sons: Flávio, Carlos and Eduardo). His second marriage was with Ana Cristina (with whom he has one son, Renan). His third and current wife is Michelle de Paula Firmo Reinaldo Bolsonaro, with whom he has his only daughter, Laura. While working in Congress, Jair Bolsonaro hired his wife as a secretary and over the next two years she received unusual promotions and her salary more than tripled. He had to fire her after the Supreme Federal Court ruled that nepotism is illegal in the public administration. As of 2016, Bolsonaro and his wife lived in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.
In his final years in high school, Bolsonaro was admitted to the prep school of the Brazilian Army and then was sent to the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras (Brazil's main military academy), graduating in 1977. He briefly served in the army's parachutist units. His superior officers described him as "ambitious and aggressive".
His first rise to publicity came in 1986 when he gave an interview to the news magazine Veja. He complained about low salaries in the military and claimed that the High Command was firing officers due to budgetary cuts and not because they were displaying 'deviations of conduct', as the command was telling the press. Despite being reprimanded by his superiors, Bolsonaro received praise from fellow officers and wives of military men, becoming a household name for a lot of hardliners and right-wingers who were growing disenchanted with Brazil's new civilian democratic government. Bolsonaro served in the military for seventeen years, reaching the rank of Captain.
In 1988, he entered politics by getting elected city councilor in Rio de Janeiro by the Christian Democratic Party. In the 1990 elections, he was elected a federal congressman from the same party. He served four consecutive terms. He has been affiliated with several other Brazilian political parties over the years. In 2014, he was the congressman who gained the most votes in Rio de Janeiro, with 464,000 votes.
In his 25 years of service in the Brazilian National Congress, he put forward at least 173 bills and one constitutional amendment, but failed to pass almost all his proposed laws. According to Bolsonaro, who claims to be persecuted by the left-wing parties, most congressmen do not vote according to their agenda, but "by who the author of the bill is".
In January 2018, Bolsonaro abandoned the Social Christian Party and switched to the Social Liberal Party (PSL). Following his arrival, the PSL abandoned its previous social liberal stances and moved to national conservative right-wing positions.
2018 presidential campaign
Logo used by Jair Bolsonaro 2018 presidential campaign
On 22 July 2018, Bolsonaro was officially nominated by the Social Liberal Party (PSL) as its presidential candidate for the 2018 election. Bolsonaro was also endorsed by the Brazilian Labour Renewal Party. His coalition name was "God above all" (Deus acima de todos). Though contested by two lawsuits, the Superior Electoral Court of Brazil deferred them and his candidacy was made official on 6 August.
Bolsonaro announced in August that Antônio Hamilton Mourão, a retired army general, would be his running mate for the upcoming election.
According to political pundits, early in the campaign, Bolsonaro moderated his tone, taking a less aggressive and confrontational style. Economically, he started to support the idea of less government intervention in the economy (in contrast to what he has stated in the past, when he defended developmentalists policies). On the other hand, he maintained his tough stance on crime and his defense of "traditional family values". Bolsonaro also said he plans to cut taxes across the board, particularly on businesses and inheritances, in order to generate growth and tackle unemployment. He also promised more austerity measures and cuts in government spending, but was skewed on naming the areas where he would do those cuts. He also mentioned he would work to diminish the size and bureaucracy of the federal government by throwing a wild variety of deregulation measures.
On 9 August 2018, he attended the first presidential debate of the year, organized by the TV network Rede Bandeirantes. A week later, there was another debate at RedeTV!. On 28 August, he gave an interview to Jornal Nacional, Brazil's best rated primetime news program, at Rede Globo.
Jair Bolsonaro was the first candidate for the presidency that was able to raise over a $1 million reais in donations from the public during the 2018 campaign. In the first 59 days, he amassed an avarage of $17,000 reais per day in donations.
Attack during campaign event
Bolsonaro was stabbed in the stomach on 6 September 2018 while campaigning and interacting with supporters in the city of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais. At first, his son
Flávio stated that his father's wounds were only superficial and he was recovering in the hospital. But Flávio Bolsonaro later stated that the wounds seemed worse than initially thought and his father most likely wouldn't be able to start campaigning personally before the end of the first round. He tweeted about his father's condition, explaining that the perforation reached parts of the liver, lung, and intestine. He also stated that Bolsonaro had lost a large amount of blood, arriving at the hospital with severe hypotension (his blood pressure was 10/3, equivalent to 100/30 mmHg), but that he had since stabilized. The attack was condemned by most of the other candidates in the presidential race, from both sides of the political spectrum, and by Brazilian President Michel Temer. The day after the attack, Bolsonaro was transferred to the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital, in São Paulo, after a request from his family. According to the doctors, he was in an "extremely stable" condition.
Police arrested and identified the attacker as Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, who, according to security agents, claimed he was on "a mission from God". He had been a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party between 2007 and 2014. His social media posts included political criticisms against both Bolsonaro and Temer.