Former U.S. President Donald Trump, who many believe will run again in 2024, has endorsed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has been facing a backlash in his country over how he handled the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s his net worth and what does Trump’s endorsement mean?
Bolsonaro has been surrounded by multiple controversies including charges of corruption. He came to power in 2019 and pledged to end corruption in the South American country. However, he was accused of "rachadinha," the widespread embezzlement scheme, where Brazilian lawmakers demand a cut in their staff’s wages.
Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic
Bolsonaro has received the most criticism for how he handled the COVID-19 pandemic. He was one of the world leaders who ridiculed the deadly virus and famously (or infamously) called it a “little flu.” With over 600,000 reported COVID-19 deaths, Brazil is the second-worst country on the metric. The U.S. has reported the most deaths, while India is in the third spot behind Brazil.
Now, a Brazilian Senate committee has said that Bolsonaro should face criminal charges for how he handled the pandemic. He allegedly pushed treatments that weren't scientifically proven and also ignored communications with Pfizer, whose COVID-19 vaccine became the first fully approved vaccine in the U.S.
Trump endorsed Bolsonaro
Trump and Bolsonaro are right-of-the-center leaders with a good rapport. Trump has come out in support of Bolsonaro. Trump called him a “great friend.” Trump explained, “He fights hard for, and loves, the people of Brazil—Just like I do for the people of the United States.”
Trump said that Brazil is “lucky” to have a president like Bolsonaro. He added, “He is a great President and will never let the people of his great country down.”
Incidentally, many people were critical of Trump’s handling of the pandemic as well. It was one of the main reasons why he lost power to Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
Bolsonaro's approval rating
Bolsonaro’s approval rating has been falling sharply. All of the recent polls show his approval ratings in the 20s. In a Datafolha poll held in September, 59 percent said that they wouldn't vote for him “under any circumstances.” 63 percent of respondents said that he is “incapable of leading the country.”
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a leftist leader, might get back power in the 2022 Brazilian election. Incidentally, even in President Joe Biden’s approval ratings have plunged. He has earned the dubious distinction of witnessing the steepest fall in ratings for any president since World War II. The rise in coronavirus cases in the U.S. is one of the reasons for Biden's falling popularity.
Bolsonaro's net worth
“Bolsonaro’s family and his inner circle seem to be involved in an ongoing criminal conspiracy and have been regularly accused of stealing from the people.” said Drew Sullivan, the editor of OCCRP. Incidentally, he beat Trump to get the dubious distinction.