Former President Jair Bolsonaro announced that he will leave the U.S. and return to his home in Brazil to face charges brought by the nation’s Supreme Court.
The conservative leader told a crowd of supporters at a Florida evangelical church that his departure will come “in the following weeks.” The former political leader has been in the U.S. since Dec. 31 and faces four inquiries from Brazil’s high court.
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Bolsonaro no longer has special legal protection due to being out of office. He came to the U.S. after the end of his presidential term.
The multiple investigations concern the time he was president, and his supporters rioted in Brasilia, the nation’s capital, in January. Bolsonaro has consistently expressed concerns over the integrity of the country’s elections and has withheld his full concession of his recent loss.
The new president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is a hero to global leftists despite having survived a corruption conviction that landed him in prison for three years. He was sentenced on money laundering and other charges before his conviction was tossed out on a technicality.
Many speculated that Bolsonaro would extend his stay in the U.S. after his representatives announced he had filed for a tourist visa. This indicated that he intended to stay past his one-month diplomatic visa, which expired on Jan. 31.
The former president’s son, Sen. Flavio Bolsonaro, explained to reporters that he did not know his father’s specific plans for returning to Brazil. “It could be tomorrow,” he said. “It could be in six months. He might never return.”
Predictably, with Bolsonaro’s conservative credentials and loss to leftist darling Lula, many U.S. progressives urged the White House to expel the former president from the country
The Biden administration only responded that it had not received requests from the Brazilian government for Bolsonaro’s return. Lula was in Washington last week and was greeted with a warm embrace by President Joe Biden.
He was also welcomed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Both apparently were unmoved by his corruption convictions and prison time.