BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's newly sworn in President Javier Milei, who famously has cloned dogs he calls his "kids with four paws", ordered his motorcade to stop unexpectedly after taking office on Sunday to greet another canine fan: a lost golden retriever.
The outsider libertarian, a wild-haired former TV pundit who has shaken up Argentine politics with radical economic ideas and theatrical rallies, got out of the car taking him to the Casa Rosada government palace from Congress and spent a minute petting the dog which appeared to have strayed from its owner.
Milei has at least four cloned mastiffs, whom he has mentioned repeatedly during the presidential campaign and to whom he dedicated his first place win in August primaries.
The 53-year-old ultra-liberal economist paid $50,000 to clone his original dog, Conan, whom he adopted in 2004 and who died in 2017. He once told local media that Conan was one of his closest confidants and has called his cloned dogs advisers.
According to the company that cloned the dogs, the result was at least four "grandsons": Murray, Milton, Robert and Lucas, named after Milei's economist idols, including Milton Friedman.
The deviation from protocol to greet the golden retriever came after Milei swore in as president in Congress, warning the country about hard times ahead and painful shock therapy to fix the embattled economy and triple-digit inflation.
(Reporting by Lucila Sigal; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Nick Zieminski)