Brazil’s Bolsonaro tweets photo of himself in Florida hospital amid calls for him to be expelled from U.S.
Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted a photo of himself in a Florida hospital bed Monday after thousands of his supporters stormed his country’s democratic institutions the day before – in scenes eerily similar to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Bolsonaro said he was being treated in Orlando for complications from an old stabbing, and it looks like he doesn’t have plans to go anywhere anytime soon, even as some U.S. lawmakers call for him to be expelled from the country.
“The United States should not be a refuge for this authoritarian who has inspired domestic terrorism in Brazil,” said Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro.
The State Department wouldn’t comment directly on Bolsonaro’s case but said in general, diplomats are in the U.S. under a 30-day visa and need to reapply to the Department of Homeland Security in order to stay in the country.
Sunday’s protests – which saw an angry mob, false accusations of a stolen election, and incalculable damage to national institutions – were in support of Bolsonaro, a former right-wing, populist president who lost Brazil’s presidential election last year to leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro left Brazil for a gated Orlando vacation home just two days before da Silva’s inauguration.
In 2020, former U.S. President Trump called Bolsonaro a “terrific man” who has “done a fantastic job.”
Bolsonaro himself is sometimes called the “Trump of the Tropics.” He was an acolyte of the former U.S. president, both in manner and strategy, making false accusations of election fraud and calling his opponents criminals.
He has also received strong support and, as The Washington Post reports, even advice from Trump ally Steve Bannon.
As events unfolded in Brazil’s capital on Sunday, Bolsonaro denied encouraging the attacks, tweeting that while peaceful protests are part of the democratic process, destruction and invasion of public buildings are not.
“There’s no question that extremism is a factor in Brazilian politics, just as it is here,” said Michael McKinley, who served as ambassador to Brazil in the Trump administration.
“There’s a strong foundation for Bolsonarismo, as they’re calling it, to have a second life across the coming years,” McKinley said.
He said Bolsonarismo is the Brazilian equivalent of Trumpism.