Brazilian police have reportedly conducted a raid at a residence in that country’s capital of the nation’s former but not-long departed right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has been an ally of Trump’s, at least as much as the infamously antagonistic ex-U.S. president might have such an ally at all. Trump has repeatedly expressed support for Bolsonaro, including as the latter recently — and unsuccessfully — sought another term in office.
In another striking correlation, supporters of Bolsonaro stormed government buildings amid outrage over his election loss, mirroring what happened at the U.S. Capitol following incitement from Trump in 2021. One key difference, though, is that the Brazilian riots took place after the new and left-wing president was already in power, lessening the possibility of a substantial impact from the outbursts, since the legal processes for the transfer of power were already completed. Although Trump is under investigation in the U.S. for his role in attempts to subvert the 2020 election before the MAGA attack, the raid on a Bolsonaro residence was for something in a different category. Reportedly, it involved an investigation into false information allegedly added into the country’s vaccination databases, and multiple close associates of the ex-Brazilian president have already been arrested.
A report from Reuters didn’t specify the nature of any confirmed or suspected personal involvement by Bolsonaro himself. Those arrested include individuals named Mauro Cid and Max Guilherme, and the raid on a Bolsonaro residence accompanied over a dozen additional warrants for search and seizure and multiple arrests, reports added.
The allegations of false data appear to involve incorrect assertions regarding certain individuals’ vaccination statuses, meaning these individuals were able to avoid travel and potentially other restrictions meant to try and slow down the pandemic. Police in Brazil have identified ideological motivations as underpinning what took place, and of course, that provides another rhetorical mirror image of Trump, who despite early involvement in developing vaccines against COVID-19 through support from his presidential team has subsequently turned against these initiatives. He’s used allegations of support for COVID-19 vaccines in political attacks on potential presidential primary challenger and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
UPDATE: A report from The Washington Post identified suspicions that records for Bolsonaro himself, along with a daughter of his, associates, and their families, were altered.