While right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has attracted backlash from within his country and around the world for his brash persona and sometimes incendiary rhetoric, his policies have earned support among some prominent conservatives.
One of his most notable defenders in the United States has been former President Donald Trump, which might not be surprising given the fact that supporters and detractors alike have frequently compared the two leaders’ respective styles.
Following Bolsonaro’s strong showing in an election on Sunday against left-wing rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Trump posted a statement on Truth Social that offered support for the incumbent president and expressed optimism for his re-election chances.
The two candidates will square off again in a runoff election later this month since neither one achieved support from 50% of voters.
“Now that other Conservatives are out of the race, President Bolsonaro is in a very strong position to win BIG,” Trump wrote. “More importantly, he will be victorious because the wonderful people of Brazil appreciate the great job he has done, and is doing.”
With nine other candidates excluded from the runoff election, Bolsonaro appears to be in an enviable position to consolidate the conservative vote behind him. As analyst Arilton Freres explained, the incumbent likely exceeded expectations because of “an embarrassed vote … among people who said they were going to vote for a third-way candidate” but instead supported Bolsonaro at the polls.
Lula starts ahead, but it won’t be easy for him,” Freres said about the challenger’s chances.
Bolsonaro railed against “the lies propagated by the research institutes” in a Twitter post celebrating his better-than-expected finish on Sunday.
“All their predictions were wrong and they are already the biggest losers of this election,” he added. “We beat that lie and now we’re going to win the election!”
Ahead of the election, party leaders aligned with Bolsonaro seemed to take a page out of Trump’s political playbook by sounding the alarm about potential voter fraud.
Also: if somehow the runoff is avoided and Bolsonaro loses, clear cut case of election fraud with late ballot dumps
— Mike Crispi (@MikeCrispiNJ) October 2, 2022
In a report published on Wednesday, the party asserted that government operatives wielded the “absolute power to manipulate election results without leaving a trace.”