Trump Hails Bolsonaro After Brazil Elections Head to Runoff Incumbent and candidate for President Jair Bolsonaro of the Liberal Party in Brazil talks during a press conference at the end of the general elections day at the main entrance of Alvorada Palace on Sunday in Brasilia, Brazil. (Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)
By Peter Malbin | Monday, 03 October 2022 12:01 PM EDT
Former President Donald Trump tweeted a congratulatory message to Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro on reaching the runoffs in the election held Sunday in the South American country.
On Truth Social, Trump tweeted: "Congratulations to President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro on greatly "outperforming" inaccurate early Fake News Media polls & getting into a two person runoff, to take place October 30th, with a Radical Left challenger. Now that other Conservatives are out of the race, President Bolsonaro is in a very strong position to win BIG.
"More importantly, he will be victorious because the wonderful people of Brazil appreciate the great job he has done, and is doing. Tremendous Voter Surge over last 24 hours!"
In the runoff, President Bolsonaro will face off against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), who got 48.4% support in the first round, compared to Bolsonaro's 43.2%.
The result came as a surprise, since pre-election polls had given Lula a commanding lead, The Associated Press reported. The last Datafolha survey published Saturday had a 50% to 36% advantage for da Silva.
Bolsonaro told reporters in Brasilia that he understood there was "a desire for change" in a country with an economic crisis and high inflation. "But certain changes can be for the worse," he said, the AP reported.
Bolsonaro has often been compared to Trump for his outspokenness and questioning the voting systems in Brazil. He has also been criticized for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in 15 years, AP noted.
Like Trump, Bolsonaro built a devoted conservative base.
When Lula was president from 2003 to 2010, he established an extensive social welfare program. His administration was also tarnished by corruption, and he was imprisoned for 19 months.
The Supreme Court later annulled Lula's convictions on grounds that the judge was biased and colluded with prosecutors.