On Saturday, Jair Bolsonaro showed up in front of his current accommodation in Kissimmee, a suburb of Orlando (US state Florida). The far-right Brazilian ex-president appeared in casual clothes in front of the rather down-to-earth house with a double garage to greet hundreds of supporters there. He gave his fans autographs and posed for photos.
While his successor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as president on January 1, Bolsonaro had found refuge in the town near Disney World theme park. He stayed away from the inauguration of his successor.
If politicians from the US Democrats have their way, Bolsonaro will have to leave the United States after the violent storming of government buildings in Brasilia. The parallels to Donald Trump's storming of the Capitol two years and two days earlier are obvious.
"Right now, Bolsonaro is in Florida... he should be extradited to Brazil," said Democrat Joaquin Castro, a member of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee. "The United States should not be a haven for this authoritarian man who... inspired terrorism in Brazil.”
Bolsonaro "used the Trump script to inspire domestic terrorists and try to take over the government," Castro said on CNN on Sunday.
Castro referred to the political friendship between Trump and Bolsonaro, the two failed presidents. Bolsonaro is "a dangerous man". Former Trump aides like Stephen K. Bannon and Stephen Miller have tried to “spread what is truly an authoritarian fascist movement and inspire domestic terrorism in other countries around the world. And Brazil is an example of that.”
Throughout both of their presidencies, Bolsonaro has been compared to would-be autocrat Trump. This earned him the nickname "Tropical Trump". Trump also stayed away from the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden in early 2021. He describes the 2020 presidential election as "stolen" and "fake" without providing any evidence.
After Bolsonaro's election defeat in October 2022, Bolsonaro's son, Brazilian Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, met with Trump at his home in Mar-a-Lago, also in Florida. In addition, both Bolsonaros consulted by phone with other Trump confidants, including Bannon, after the election defeat.
In addition to the Democrat Castro, his parliamentary colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also demanded that Bolsonaro leave the USA. The US must stop granting sanctuary to Bolsonaro in Florida, Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.
Two years after the "fascist attack on the US Capitol, we see fascist movements abroad attempting to do the same in Brazil," the MP wrote. The US must “show solidarity with the democratically elected Lula government”.
US President Joe Biden made a similar statement on Sunday – without, of course, addressing Bolsonaro’s expulsion or extradition. Biden called the storming of the pro-Bolsonaro mobs on government buildings “outrageous” on Sunday. He condemned the "attack on democracy and the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil," Biden wrote on Twitter. The "democratic institutions of Brazil" enjoyed the "complete support" of the USA, and he was looking forward to his further cooperation with Lula da Silva.
The US Senate also signaled solidarity with Lula. "I condemn this egregious attack on Brazil's government building, instigated by demagogues Bolsonaro's reckless disregard for democratic principles," tweeted Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Two years after January 6, 2021, "Trump's legacy" continues to poison the hemisphere. "It is important to protect democracy and hold evil actors accountable," Menendez wrote.
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