Bolsonaro defends term, questions Brazilian election defeat

MIAMI – Just weeks after his supporters stormed the seat of his country’s government, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday expressed dismay at how he could have lost October’s election, then smiled silently as a crowd of Followers shouted, “Scam!”

He didn’t address it directly the January 8 attack on the buildings housing Brazil’s Congress and Supreme Court during his Miami appearance to a conservative group linked to former US President Donald Trump.

Bolsonaro had emulated Trump’s strategy during his own 2020 re-election campaign and sowed doubts about Trump’s reliability for months Brazil’s voting machines and then a petition Cancel millions of votes. He is now examined for alleged incitement to rebellion.

Like Trump, Bolsonaro did not concede the election, although unlike the former US President he never explicitly said he lost by fraud. During a question-and-answer session with conservative Turning Point USA leader Charlie Kirk, the former Brazilian president rattled off his government’s accomplishments before offering donors a chance.

“Brazil was doing very well,” said Bolsonaro. “I can’t understand the reasons why (the election) decided to go left.”

After the cries of “cheating” died down, Kirk helped spread the word Trump’s own voter fraud lies after the former The loss of the US PresidentShe replied, “All I can say is that sounds very familiar.”

The event took place at Trump’s hotel in Miami. underline the connection between two populist presidents who fueled distrust in their democracies’ elections, Causing followers to become violent after their losses. The two were political allies who shared one thing overlapping group of advisors. Shortly before Bolsonaro’s opponent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office Bolsonaro moved to Floridathe state where Trump is based.

Friday’s performance marked part of Bolsonaro’s resurgence after spending several weeks in a central Florida suburb. He spoke to some supporters there earlier this week before taking the stage at Trump’s hotel late Friday afternoon.

Much of Bolsonaro’s Friday speech amounted to defending his four years in power, touting job gains, a lack of corruption in his government and, in a pun that drew loud cheers, “freedom” for those who oppose it decided COVID-19 vaccinations.

After his 30-minute appearance, many of the several hundred people, often dressed in the national colors of yellow and green, swarmed around the 67-year-old ex-president.

Some of Bolsonaros Supporters in Brazil have expressed disappointment that he left the country before January 8 and was cautious about the attack. The former president is at legal risk not only from a skyrocketing investigation into the January 8 uprising, but also from the country’s highest courtcensored the websites that allegedly spread lies about the Brazilian elections.

Reynaldo Rossi, a Brazilian farmer who is visiting Florida to explore a possible move there, said he’s glad Bolsonaro is staying in the US for now.

“If he goes back, they’re going to give him a lot of trouble,” Rossi said. “He spent much of his time down there defending himself rather than guiding us.”

In his speech, Bolsonaro paid tribute to Brazilians who left the country for the United States and seems to include himself in that category.

“The way we feel here, we always worry about our friends and family who stayed there,” he said, referring to Brazil.

He also reassured the crowd about the country’s future.

“I believe in Brazil and I am sure that Brazil will not end with the current government,” Bolsonaro said.


Hughes reported from Rio de Janiero and Riccardi from Denver.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Bolsonaro defends term, questions Brazilian election defeat

Sarah Y. Kim

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