Trump lauds 'great friend' Jair Bolsonaro, as the Brazilian president has 9 criminal charges recommended against him

Trump lauds 'great friend' Jair Bolsonaro, as the Brazilian president has 9 criminal charges recommended against him
Former US President Donald Trump declared his support for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday, describing themselves as "great friends." Andressa Anholete/Getty Images and James Devaney/GC Images
  • Trump declared his support for Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, who just had criminal charges recommended against him for his pandemic response.
  • A 1,180 page report said Bolsonaro plunged Brazil into danger and caused needless COVID-19 deaths.

Former US President Donald Trump announced his endorsement on Tuesday evening of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who just hours before had criminal charges recommended against him by a Brazilian Senate committee for his pandemic response.

"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," wrote Trump in a statement.

"Brazil is lucky to have a man such as Jair Bolsonaro working for them. He is a great President and will never let the people of his great country down!"

On the same day, seven senators of an 11-member Brazilian senate commission voted to recommend nine charges against Bolsonaro, including crimes against humanity and charlatanism.

They approved a 1,180-page report, the compiled findings of a six-month inquiry into Bolsonaro and his administration's pandemic handling.


It said Bolsonaro had repeatedly promoted dangerous, false claims about COVID-19 and had tried to stop Congress from introducing public health mandates around masks.

According to the report, Bolsonaro had "deliberately exposed" Brazilians to the coronavirus in a bid to get the country to reach herd immunity.

It added that the Brazilian leader ignored several offers of vaccines from the Butantan Institute, a government-owned biology research center, and failed to act when he was presented with evidence of corruption in a vaccine procurement contract.

More than 605,000 people have died in Brazil from COVID-19 - more than in any country except the US.

"Many of these deaths were preventable," Renan Calheiros, a Brazilian senator and the lead author of the report, told The New York Times. "I am personally convinced that he is responsible for escalating the slaughter."


The charges recommended against Bolsonaro may never materialize. The committee doesn't have the power to start a criminal or impeachment proceeding - that's in the hands of Brazil's attorney general, a Bolsonaro ally. But the Senate panel may seek to bring the matter to Brazil's Supreme Court or the International Criminal Court, per NPR.

Bolsonaro, who is seeking reelection, responded to the report last week by saying it was a "joke," reported Reuters.

He and Trump have regularly exchanged praise for one another. The Brazilian leader has been called the "Trump of the Tropics," and has supported Trump's unproven voter fraud claims.

In turn, Trump called Bolsonaro a "major non-NATO ally" and said he was "honored" to have his 2016 US election victory compared to Bolsonaro's in 2019.