Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attacked Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Barroso after the judge ordered Congress to begin a probe of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bolsonaro criticized the request for the congressional probe to focus on the failures of the federal government in its COVID response.
Brazil’s daily COVID-19 death toll has reached records this week, surpassing 4,000 people.
Bolsonaro said the Supreme Court justice has “no moral courage” and said Barroso should request the impeachment of other Supreme Court justices.
He accused Barroso and “leftists in Congress” of covering up corruption involving COVID contracts by states and cities, without citing names.
The order minutes after the whole court upheld the power of local authorities to prevent churches and other houses of worship from opening.
Bolsonaro downplayed the threat of the coronavirus while arguing that the economic and emotional impacts of shutdowns would harm more Brazilians than the pandemic.
He has at times criticized branches of government, the Supreme Court for upholding the power of governors and mayors to establish restrictions on economic and personal activity during the pandemic. Last year, he attended protests against the court.
The conservative president, a proud Christian who has the support of some of the country’s main evangelical leaders, has opposed locally imposed lockdowns and other restrictions that health experts have said were sorely needed to halt the virus’ spread.