RIO DE JANEIRO – Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) told CNN that ex-President Jair Bolsonaro should be extradited back to Brazil.
“I stand with the democratic-elected leadership in Brazil,” Castro told CNN on Sunday. “He basically used the Trump playbook to inspire domestic terrorists to try to take over the government.”
Bolsonaro left Brazil for Orlando on Dec. 30 and broke tradition by skipping the Jan. 1 inauguration of his political nemesis, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The Dec. 30 edition of the official gazette said that Bolsonaro was headed to Florida, and that several officials were given permission to accompany “the future ex-president” to Miami between Jan. 1 and Jan. 30, to offer “advice, security and personal support.”
“It was reported that (Bolsonaro) was under investigation for corruption and fled Brazil to the United States,” Castro said. “So we were talking about asylum seekers and immigration earlier (in the interview), Republicans make a big deal and try to scare people about bad people in those groups coming to the United States. Well, they know where one of them is. Jair Bolsonaro is in Florida hanging out with Donald Trump.”
Since his Oct. 30 electoral defeat, Bolsonaro has been stoking belief among his hardcore supporters that the electronic voting system was prone to fraud — though he never presented any evidence. His lawmaker son Eduardo Bolsonaro held several meetings with former U.S. President Donald Trump, Trump’s longtime ally Steve Bannon and his senior campaign adviser, Jason Miller.
In the CNN interview, Castro went on to call Bolsonaro a “dangerous man” and said he should be put on a plane and sent home to Brazil as soon as possible.
“The United States should not be a refuge for this authoritarian who has inspired domestic terrorism in Brazil,” Castro said.
You can listen to Castro’s full comments on the subject in the video player at the top of this article.
Meanwhile, in Brazil, authorities vowed Monday to protect democracy and punish thousands of Bolsonaro supporters who stormed and trashed the nation’s highest seats of power in chaos with striking similarities to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
The protesters swarmed into Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace on Sunday. Many have said they want the Brazilian army to restore the far-right Bolsonaro to power and oust the newly inaugurated leftist Lula.
U.S. President Joe Biden, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jointly said Monday that “Canada, Mexico, and the United States condemn the January 8 attacks on Brazil’s democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power. We stand with Brazil as it safeguards its democratic institutions.”
AP contributed to this story.