Former President Donald Trump issued a statement Tuesday in support of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who today faces criticism for his handling of the pandemic and possible criminal charges against him by the Brazilian Senate.
“President Jair Bolsonaro and I have become great friends over the past few years. He fights hard for, and loves, the people of Brazil – just like I do for the people of the United States,” Trump said in his statement.
“Brazil is lucky to have a man such as Jair Bolsonaro working for them,” the Republican leader added. “He is a great President and will never let the people of his great country down!”
Bolsonaro at critical moment
Trump’s message comes at a delicate moment in Bolsonaro’s political career. This Wednesday, a group of senators delivered to the Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras, and Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the Federal Supreme Court (TSF), copies of the final report of a parliamentary commission on the pandemic.
The report suggests to Brazil’s highest court to charge Bolsonaro with about 9 crimes related to his management of the COVID-19 pandemic, and includes charges for crimes against humanity.
As it is a political court, a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (PCI) cannot sanction any citizen. In practice, an PCI can recommend indictments, but further investigation and eventual indictment depend solely on the justice system.
Thus, it is up to prosecutor Aras to decide whether to file a complaint against President Bolsonaro and other public agents with privileged jurisdiction mentioned in the document, which includes 77 other people, among them three sons of the president, ministers, former ministers, federal deputies, doctors and businessmen.
The vice-president of the PCI appointed for the pandemic, Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, called on Aras to “fulfill his role” and threatened “other ways” if the attorney general decides not to pursue the accusations contained in the report.
Rodrigues also suggested taking the case directly to the TSF to be decided by the highest authority.
The PCI report also requests the TSF that the president’s social networks be suspended indefinitely and that the commission be given access to his Facebook, Google and Twitter data.
Recently, Bolsonaro’s YouTube account was temporarily suspended after he uploaded to that platform, Facebook and Instagram a video in which he allegedly “associated” COVID-19 vaccines and HIV.
In an interview with a local radio station, President Bolsonaro responded to the report and called the charges “fantasies.” “I’m not going to talk about these people’s fantasies. I’m not going to discuss this load of bullshit,” he said.