Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a conservative and vocal ally of President Donald Trump, comforted supporters concerned about the ongoing vote counts in the American presidential election late on Wednesday, asserting, “hope is the last [thing] to die.”
Bolsonaro admitted that, like millions around the world, he was riveted watching the vote counts for Trump and rival former Vice President Joe Biden trickling from battleground states and expected a fair result.
According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, a small group of supporters met Bolsonaro in front of the official presidential residence, the Alvorada Palace, late Wednesday. Bolsonaro responded to a woman who asked “what would become of us” without him or Trump, and later to someone asking if he was following election results from America.
“What do you think? Everybody is following,” Bolsonaro responded. “It seems like the business over there is going to the courts, one state or another. Let’s wait a little bit.”
To the first question, Bolsonaro reportedly answered, “hope is the last to die.”
Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo, a lawmaker, has also commented on the election through his Twitter account, sharing vote totals that some conservatives have regarded as suspect in critical states and comparing them to elections in Brazil where the socialist candidate found a surprise windfall of uncounted votes late in the process.
“The left is well-organized at a global level. That is why it is important to follow the U.S. elections,” the younger Bolsonaro wrote on Wednesday. “What happens there could be repeated here.”
President Bolsonaro has openly supported the Trump presidency throughout his tenure for sharing political values. He and Trump have met on several occasions to expand trade cooperation between the two countries and discuss international issues of mutual interest, such as the Venezuelan migrant crisis and the growing negative influence of communist China. As a result, Brazilians who support Bolsonaro largely support Trump and Brazilian-Americans who support Trump also support Bolsonaro.
“Trump is our Bolsonaro,” a Brazilian-American voter told the BBC in Miami this week.
“To be a leader, the president has to have integrity and has to know business … he has to understand how to negotiate, foreign policy is business,” another Brazilian-American said. “Trump is a good president because he is a good businessman and is direct. I think he is honest.”
In Sao Paulo, hundreds of Bolsonaro supporters organized this weekend to oppose the Chinese coronavirus policies of a rival of the president’s, Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria. Several supporters carried signs reading “Go Trump!” and other pro-Trump slogans.
The Brazilian president has also clashed with Biden personally, particularly following a bizarre declaration by the Democrat during the first presidential election debate that he would attempt to destroy the Brazilian economy if Bolsonaro did not accept $20 billion from him.
“Brazil, the rainforests of Brazil are being torn down, are being ripped down. More carbon is absorbed in that rainforest than every bit of carbon that’s emitted in the United States,” Biden said. “Instead of doing something about that, I would be gathering up and making sure we had the countries of the world coming up with $20 billion, and say, ‘Here’s $20 billion. Stop, stop tearing down the forest. And If you don’t, then you’re going to have significant economic consequences.’”
Elsewhere in the debate, Biden argued that Trump had been needlessly antagonistic to global allies.
Bolsonaro responded by calling Biden a “coward” and exclaiming in an official statement, “what a shame!”
“What some have not yet understood is that Brazil has changed. Its President, unlike the left-wing presidents of the past, does not accept bribes, criminal land demarcations, or coward threats towards our territorial and economic integrity. OUR SOVEREIGNTY IS NON-NEGOTIABLE,” Bolsonaro wrote in response to Biden.
The president appeared to be referring to past socialist presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a convicted felon found guilty of using millions in public money for a luxury beachfront property, and his protege Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached out of office.
Bolsonaro also called Biden’s threats “disastrous and unnecessary.”
At press time, several key states are continuing to count votes, particularly votes sent in by mail through programs meant to keep people home to protect from the spread of the Chinese coronavirus. The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in Michigan and Wisconsin regarding questionable vote-counting methods and the legitimacy of some mail-in votes. In states like Arizona and Pennsylvania, Republicans have expressed concerns regarding evidence that deceased individuals may have had ballots to their name or that duplicate or otherwise illegitimate ballots may be added to the final tallies. Conservative voters have begun organizing rallies in remaining states demanding a process to verify the legitimacy of votes.