(Bloomberg) -- Almost nothing is taboo for Javier Milei: Ask him about Argentina’s central bank, and he’ll say it’s “the worst garbage that exists on this Earth.” China? It’s an “assassin.” The sale of guns and organs? They should be legalized.
Most Read from Bloomberg
But don’t you dare ask him about his beloved “four-legged sons,” five 200-pound English Mastiffs that have been catapulted into the popular imagination this week along with Argentina’s leading — and unlikely — presidential candidate.
Following a two-hour interview with Bloomberg News Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Milei bluntly refused to answer any questions about the canine members of his family.
The longtime bachelor showed no such reticence following his stunning upset in Argentina’s primary election on Sunday, when the dogs were among the first to be thanked in his victory speech.
“Thank you to Conan, Murray, Milton, Robert and Lucas!” Milei said as he grinned Sunday night to roaring applause at his campaign headquarters.
The names are references to economists that have shaped Milei’s ultra-libertarian world view: Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman and Robert Lucas. Conan the Barbarian may not be a famous economist, but he certainly evokes the macho aesthetic that’s also part of the Milei persona.
Read more: Milei Vows to Pay Argentina’s Debt While Shuttering Central Bank
Milei has previously said he survived on only pizza during a tough economic period in order to make sure his first dog — Conan — had enough to eat.
A recent biography titled El loco, or the crazy one, recounts how Milei cloned Conan following his death — which he hid for years — and claims that he communicates with the dog through a mystic.
Milei has kept the dogs in a kennel outside Buenos Aires during his campaign, but designed his schedule so he could spend time with them.
The emotion that Milei displays toward his dogs contrasts with his views on romantic human relationships. “Marriage is a contract, and I celebrate whoever wants that but for various circumstances, I’ve decided not be part of society like that,” the single and never-married Milei said in an earlier interview in February.
Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.