A pro-Trump libertarian with no prior government experience and a resume that includes work as a ‘tantric sex coach’ has been elected president of Argentina.
Javier Milei beat Argentina’s Economy Minister Sergio Massa in Sunday’s polarized presidential runoff. Massa conceded before the electoral authority released results.
Massa congratulated his opponent, a right-wing economist who promised a shake-up for the nation and has welcomed frequent comparisons of him to Trump.
Former President Trump responded with praise for Milei in multiple posts to his Truth Social account Sunday evening, with a twist on his famous ‘Make America Great Again’ catchphrase.
‘Congratulations to Javier Milei on a great race for President of Argentina. The whole world was watching! I am very proud of you. You will turn your Country around and truly Make Argentina Great Again!’
He also posted a photo of Milei posing with the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag, long considered a symbol of libertarian politics, again writing: ‘Make Argentina Great Again!’
The country will swing to the right amid discontent over soaring inflation and rising poverty.
It will empower a freshman lawmaker, who describes himself as an anarcho-capitalist and got his start as a TV talking head blasting what he called the ‘political caste.’
Milei, who is also a prominent economist and radio chat-show host, has spoken openly about his preference for threesomes, why he believes poor people should be free to sell their body parts and how he enjoys communicating via telepathy with his dead dog for political advice.
He pulled off a shock victory in the primary round of voting ahead of the runoff election, in large part due to support from young voters who are so disenchanted with more ‘conventional’ politicians that they have turned to a man whose recent biography was titled El Loco, or The Madman.
A political unknown until a few years ago, Milei, 52, was elected to Argentina’s parliament in 2021 as a member of La Libertad Avanza (‘Freedom Advances’).
He prefers to call himself an anarcho-capitalist, which means he’d like to rip up as much government intervention as he can and leave it all to the free market.
‘If I had to choose between the state and the mafia, I would choose the mafia,’ he once said. ‘Because the mafia has codes, the mafia adapts, the mafia doesn’t lie. And above all, the mafia competes.’
His ‘chainsaw plan’ to slash the bloated state includes getting rid of Argentina’s public health and education systems along with shuttering ten out of 18 government departments.
Milei is also so anti-progressive he has repeatedly taken aim – rather bizarrely – at Pope Francis, his compatriot, calling him a ‘f***ing communist’, ‘communist turd’ and the ‘representative of the evil one on Earth’ in brutal social media posts, simply because of his perceived support for ‘social justice’ and policies to help the poor.
‘Jesus didn’t pay taxes,’ Milei memorably tweeted.
His private persona appears to match the public image of an unpredictable eccentric.
At home he keeps four 200lb English Mastiffs. All named after famous right-wing economists – and each one cloned from a fifth, now-dead dog named Conan (after the Barbarian).
A recent biography by journalist Juan Luis González revealed Milei studies telepathy in his spare time and has a medium to ‘communicate’ with Conan, who died in 2017, asking him for advice on political matters.
Milei hasn’t denied the claims. ‘What I do in my house is my business,’ he told a Spanish newspaper.
Not that he’s usually so secretive.
Milei, who is single and has never married, proudly says he used to be an instructor of tantric sex – a slow, meditative form of intercourse based on Eastern philosophies where the end goal is not orgasm but enjoyment of the process – and could go a full three months without ejaculating.
He’s also talked openly about having threesomes.
Even so, he has called Conan the greatest love of his life, an animal he so cherished that during a financially tough period he survived only on pizza so Conan had enough to eat.
The dog is closely followed in Milei’s affections by his younger sister, Karina, who he has vowed to make his First Lady if he becomes president.
When a political opponent called him ‘a disheveled panelist who screams on a stage and sleeps with eight dogs and his sister’ during a debate, Milei’s only response was to say: ‘I don’t have eight dogs’.
As a teenager, Milei sang in ‘Everest’, a rock band that knocked out Rolling Stones covers.
He often wears a black leather jacket shaking an unruly mane of thick black hair that is so peculiar it has earned him a nickname: The Wig.
Milei says he never combs the hairdo and that only his party’s vice president, Lilia Lemoine, a keen cosplayer, is authorized to style it.
He grew up in Buenos Aires where his father was a bus driver and later a transport sector businessman. Milei claims his parents, Norberto and Alicia, physically and verbally abused him when he was young. As an adult, he didn’t speak to them for a decade. ‘They are dead to me,’ he has said.
At school, he reportedly had no friends, and often boiled over in notorious angry outbursts.
He later studied to be an economist but found the dry life of academia wasn’t for him.
Then, around five years ago, he suddenly tried his luck on Argentina’s beloved daytime TV chat shows – and producers quickly realized viewers couldn’t get enough of his demented claims about his sexual stamina and his brazen political opinions.
Raised a Catholic and now said to be converting to Judaism, his views on abortion are conservitve: wanting to ban terminations in every case except when a mother’s life is in danger.
Though, while he may be staunchly opposed to pro-choice views when it comes to pregnancy, he’s proposed a controversial ‘market mechanisms’ to deal with long waiting lists for transplants, arguing that organs are a person’s property to sell as they choose.
He wants to see Argentina ditch the peso and adopt the US dollar as its national currency, slash taxes, privatize state-owned companies and scrap subsidies.
As for foreign policy, he believes his natural allies would be the US and Israel, saying: ‘I don’t want to have anything to do with the communists of Cuba, China and North Korea.’
On the ever thorny question of the Falkland Islands, which Argentina unsuccessfully tried to grab from Britain in 1982 during the prime ministership of Margaret Thatcher, one of his icons, Milei proposes copying the UK’s transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
Milei’s screeds resonated widely with Argentines angered by their struggle to make ends meet, particularly young men.
Massa, as one of the most prominent figures in a deeply unpopular administration, was once seen as having little chance of victory.
But he managed to mobilize the networks of his Peronist party and clinched a decisive first-place finish in the first round of voting.
His campaign cautioned Argentines that his libertarian opponent’s plan to eliminate key ministries and otherwise sharply curtail the state would threaten public services, including health and education, and welfare programs many rely on.
Massa also drew attention to his opponent’s often aggressive rhetoric and openly questioned his mental acuity; ahead of the first round, Milei sometimes carried a revving chainsaw at rallies.
Milei accused Massa and his allies of running a ‘campaign of fear’ and he walked back some of his most controversial proposals, such as loosening gun control. In his final campaign ad, Milei looks at the camera and assures voters he has no plans to privatize education or health care.
‘We did a great job despite the fear campaign and all the dirty tactics they used against us,’ Milei told journalists after he voted amid a large security operation as dozens of supporters and journalists gathered at his polling place.