Who are the allies of the Bolsonaro clan on the US extreme right

A delegation of 16 Americans, including campaign financers and allies of former US President Donald Trump, was in Brazil when Jair Bolsonaro (PL) made coup threats against democracy and incited his supporters to attack ministers of the Supreme Court. (STF) on September 7, 2021.

THE Public Agency found that the day after the protests they were with the son of the Brazilian president, federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PL-SP), and executives from large companies in the country at an elegant dinner at Copacabana Palace, in Rio de Janeiro.

We identified that at least part of this group – in addition to other Trumpist conservatives who were in Brazil – also met with Jair Bolsonaro between the 6th and 7th of September, in Brasília.

This group’s trip to Brazil is the result of a move that Eduardo Bolsonaro has been making since before his father was elected president, in October 2017, to strengthen relations with the American extreme right. And that has worked. Last September 8, Donald Trump declared his “full and total endorsement” of the re-election of Jair Bolsonaro. This proximity is unprecedented in the relationship between the two countries; traditionally, politicians are cautious in speaking out so as not to interfere with national sovereignty.

In the last five years, Eduardo Bolsonaro has participated in at least 77 meetings and events with representatives and leaders of the conservative political wing of the USA.

Despite enjoying sharing photos of these meetings, always extolling his proximity, support and partnerships with conservative bigwigs, the federal deputy hid the US group’s arrival in September last year from the spotlight. Like him, the visitors took the same care to keep their trip to Brazil discreet.

On the guest list for the event at the luxury hotel in Rio, which the report had access to, there were businessmen who made donations to the Trump campaign, political advisers and Republican Mike Lee, an influential member of the Senate who initially supported Trump’s efforts to reverse the election results.

To cite other examples, GOP donor Carol Adams was present; Sergio Gor, who headed the office of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, a fundraising committee for Donald Trump’s campaign and the GOP National Committee; and Trump’s former personal assistant Nicholas Luna.

The subject in the newspapers, that Wednesday, September 8, 2021, was the repercussion of the coup attacks by Jair Bolsonaro in the demonstrations that took place the day before, in Brasília and in the capital of São Paulo. Hundreds of thousands of supporters heeded the president’s request and took to the streets of capital cities, holding banners denouncing the electoral system as fraudulent and calling for “the closure of the STF” and “a military intervention”.

In São Paulo, 125,000 people gathered on Avenida Paulista and heard Bolsonaro promise, from the stage, not to follow the orders of the STF ministers. Truckers disrupted traffic in 14 states. Some groups tried to invade the STF but were prevented. The tension would only be relieved the day after dinner, September 9, when Bolsonaro published a letter stating that he had “no intention of harming any of the Powers”.

But at the elegant reception at Copacabana Palace, the September 7 demonstrations were not even mentioned – at least from the stage.

The dinner was organized, on the Brazilian side, by Sérgio Sant’Ana, Eduardo Bolsonaro’s partner at the Instituto Conservador Liberal (ICL) think tank, and, on the North American side, by Sergio Gor, identified in the guest list as the company’s representative. Winning Team Consulting. He is currently a partner of Donald Trump Jr. at Winning Team Publishing. The publisher released a memoir and photo book of the former US president that includes a record of a meeting with Jair and Eduardo Bolsonaro.

Eduardo Bolsonaro was quoted in the book of former President Trump as “wonderful son Eduardo” (wonderful son) (Reproduction)

The official invitation to Brazilian executives and representatives of trade associations who participated in the event was made by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI). Sought, the entity informed in a note that “as a representative of Brazilian industry, it has among its missions to stimulate exchanges between Brazil and other countries and their representatives to prospect opportunities for the sector”.

Recently, the CNI refused to sign the manifesto in defense of the Brazilian electoral system prepared by the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp), with the justification that “it dialogues with all politicians”. In 2019, the entity even campaigned for Eduardo Bolsonaro to take over the Brazilian embassy in Washington, as revealed in a column by journalist Jamil Chade, in the UOL.

THE public talked to five people present at the Copacabana Palace that night. They told us that they were invited by CNI to a “business event”. One of the sources heard said that he had been alerted about the profile of the North American group of “Trumpists” who would be at the dinner – among foreigners, nine politicians and only three businessmen. About 50 people attended the reception and, as they arrived, were directed to their tables, with places previously marked.

Sérgio Sant’Ana and Sergio Gor sat side by side at a VIP table positioned close to the stage. Eduardo Bolsonaro, throughout his speech, thanked the “two Sérgios” for making the meeting possible, and especially Gor, “for his role in organizing the trip”. The audience applauded.

In an interview with public, Sérgio Sant’Ana said that the dinner with the executives was organized by Senator Mike Lee and that it had no relationship with the government or with the ICL. “It was a private event,” he said. “I don’t know exactly the context of the Americans there, but it was the senator’s doing [Mike Lee]”, said. According to him, Lee and Gor were on vacation in Rio de Janeiro. “There was absolutely nothing political about the guy’s trip, you know? Americans do these things, travel and take people who are connected, friend”, he reinforced, and added: “There’s nothing wrong with it”.

THE public contacted Eduardo Bolsonaro, Mike Lee and Sergio Gor, but got no response. We also tried to contact Carol Adams and other members of the delegation, without success.

The president of the CNI, Robson Braga de Andrade, was the first to speak. He made an institutional presentation and used a Powerpoint to illustrate the numbers of the Brazilian economy. On the agenda, agribusiness, energy and mining. Then it was the turn of Republican Senator Mike Lee. He said that “the US is very friendly with Brazil” and that the relationship between the two countries “has to be strengthened”. Lee also highlighted that it was his first trip after the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. The number of Brazilians killed, victims of the virus that day, exceeded 584 thousand.

According to reports heard by the report, Eduardo Bolsonaro’s presentation, the third and last of the night, had the most political tone. He propagandized actions by his father’s government, saying that the country has improved, and highlighted the similarities between Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump. The congressman made a point of highlighting the close relationship between US and Brazilian conservatives and how much they have in common.

Eduardo had arrived in Rio late in the afternoon, after a busy schedule of political commitments in São Paulo and interviews for foreign channels.

Trumpist delegation met with Jair Bolsonaro on September 7

Before landing in Rio de Janeiro, most of the American delegation passed through Brasília, where they were with Jair Bolsonaro, as a source who accompanied the trip told us. The only name on the president’s official agenda, however, is Senator Mike Lee. The meeting took place from 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm on September 6, 2021, at Palácio do Planalto. The ministers of Foreign Affairs, Carlos França, and of Economy, Paulo Guedes, were also present.

Mike Lee was one of the speakers at the first CPAC in Brazil – the Brazilian version of the largest conservative meeting in the United States –, held in São Paulo in October 2019. On the occasion, Eduardo Bolsonaro signed a cooperation agreement with US conservatives to knowledge exchange. From the leaders of the American Conservative Union (UCA), an organization that promotes the CPAC, Mercedes and Matt Schlapp, Charles Gerow and Mike Lee signed the agreement.

Mike Lee played down the attack on Capitol Hill, saying they were “democratic demonstrations”, and likened the invaders to protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement.

Despite not appearing on the official agenda, Republican Party donor and Texas businessman Don Huffines also attended the meeting with Jair Bolsonaro on September 6. The meeting was posted on his personal website. “Earlier this month, I visited a courageous leader who shocked the world with his election victory, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro,” Huffines wrote. “We talked about our shared Christian values ​​and discussed strategies to not only tackle the swamp of the establishment, but defeat it,” he added.

Don Huffines and Jair Bolsonaro during a meeting to discuss “Christian values” (Reproduction)

The businessman told in an interview with public that Eduardo Bolsonaro accompanied the group on some tours. “I didn’t know Eduardo before, other people on the trip did. He is articulate, intelligent about the political and business world,” he highlighted. According to Huffines, while they were meeting in Jair Bolsonaro’s office, the space where the president would speak the next day was organized outside.

That same night in the federal capital, supporters of Jair Bolsonaro broke through the military police blockade that prevented access to the Esplanada dos Ministérios and threatened to invade the STF. The demonstration was attended by Eduardo Bolsonaro.

Huffines, who also attended the reception in Rio, said he traveled to Brazil at the invitation of Sergio Gor. He told the public who went to tourism, to explore investment opportunities and meet with politicians and business people. According to him, most of the Rio group went to Brasília to meet with the president, but when asked to confirm whether Gor was part of the group, he declined to comment. Sant’Ana told the report that he would have stayed only in Rio. Like Gor, Connor Hickey, a former aide to Republican Senator Rand Paul, was identified on the guest list at the Copacabana Palace dinner as a representative of the Winning Team.

In addition to Gor and Hickey, the other two political advisers who were on the Americans’ entourage in Brazil are Doug Stafford and Nicholas Luna. Stafford is Senator Rand Paul’s chief strategist. Luna was Donald Trump’s personal assistant and bodyguard. He was in the cabinet with the former president when the latter pressured his vice president, Mike Pence, not to certify the election results on January 6, 2021.

Stafford and Luna are on the guest list for the dinner at Copacabana Palace.

Trumpist and Bolsonaristas talked about “vote integrity”

In that fateful month of September 2021, there were at least three events with the Bolsonaros and the presence of North Americans from Donald Trump’s political group: the dinner on the 8th in Rio, the coup demonstrations on September 7th and the CPAC – both last in Brasilia.

Days later, Eduardo Bolsonaro still traveled to the United States and met with Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Sergio Gor and visited the Gettr office – a social network run by former Trump adviser Jason Miller, who has already sponsored at least four meetings promoted by Eduardo Bolsonaro’s ICL, between September 2021 and June 2022: two CPACs and two congresses regional conservatives, called Deep Brazil.

Jason Miller’s proximity to Steve Bannon was one of the reasons that led the PF to question him when he was in Brazil, in September of last year (he returned to the country this year, when he participated again in the CPAC, in São Paulo, and in the demonstrations of the bicentennial of Independence in Rio de Janeiro). At the time he was approached by the Federal Police, Miller was accompanied by businessman Gerald Brant, who was the one who opened the doors of conservative US circles to the Bolsonaro family, still in 2017.


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: allies Bolsonaro clan extreme

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