Bannon's Big 'Stolen Election' Lies Incited Fascist Attack On Brazil Capital
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon has spent more than two months denying the results of last year’s Brazilian presidential election, helping to lay the groundwork for the attacks on government buildings over the weekend carried out by supporters of defeated former President Jair Bolsonaro. The mob violence from Bolsonaro’s supporters bore a striking resemblance to the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol two years ago, which Bannon also helped to foment.
The day after the pro-Bolsonaro, anti-democracy riot, Bannon defended the protesters’ perceived grievances on his War Room podcast. “The key is legitimacy, you must show you are legitimate,” Bannon said. “There were millions and millions — tens of millions of people in the street, working class people, and particularly … Evangelical Christians that are not prepared to sit there and let an atheistic, Marxist, communist criminal like Lula steal the election and steal their country.”
Bannon has been questioning the legitimacy of the Brazilian election process since former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, was declared the winner on October 30. In the immediate aftermath of Bolsonaro’s loss, Bannon baselessly claimed on his podcast that the vote totals couldn’t be trusted and urged Bolsonaro to fight on. He was frequently joined by Matthew Tyrmand, a conservative activist who has claimed to discover mathematical anomalies that call the Brazilian election results into question. (An analysis from the Brazilian military did not find evidence of fraud in the election.)
Despite Bannon’s pleas, Bolsonaro ultimately acknowledged the results on November 2, 2022, although he didn’t technically concede. In late December, Bolsonaro traveled to Florida, where he remains, while still facing mounting investigations in his home country.
Bannon and Tyrmand continued to cast doubt on the vote totals even after Bolsonaro had at least nominally accepted defeat. On November 3, Bannon invited Tyrmand on War Room to discuss the pro-Bolsonaro street protests following his electoral defeat. “The piece was amazing,” Bannon said, referring to an article Tyrmand had recently published. “You can see how they stole this.”
The pro-Bolsonaro forces are “up against a transnational criminal class that has both partnerships with the party of Davos, the World Economic Forum, and the Chinese Communist Party. That’s what’s trying to take over Brazil,” Bannon continued. Those remarks echoed an argument also put forward by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson claiming that the CCP is using Lula to turn Brazil into a de facto Chinese colony.
“What you see in the streets is the people of Brazil saying, ‘We don’t want that,’” Bannon concluded.
Tyrmand then speculated about a military audit in the case of fraud, “which you and I certainly believe there is, based on what we’ve seen with our own eyes,” he told Bannon.
Later that month, Tyrmand returned to the show to discuss the ongoing protests, which he described as “the largest street demonstrations in human history.”
“This brings back memories of the people in the streets fighting Soviet communism in the late ‘80s, when the Berlin Wall was coming down,” Tyrmand claimed. “You know what, this is orders of magnitude bigger.”
“It’s the Brazilian Spring,” Bannon added.
Tyrmand then claimed that social media posts showed voting machines had been improperly transported from their storage areas and insinuated that it was evidence of potential tampering or fraud.
“The election was stolen,” Bannon replied.
Two days later, Tyrmand again appeared on War Room to cast further doubt about the vote totals.
“People know they’ve been defrauded, they know that the mathematics behind what the machines demonstrated is patently ludicrous, it doesn’t pass any empirical analytical test when you know people all over the country voted for Bolsonaro,” he said.
Tyrmand was back on Bannon’s show in early December, describing the Bolsonaristas as “Constitutionalists” who “believe in the peaceful process and transitions of power.” He then expressed his hope that “the military will do their job that’s afforded them in the Constitution” and carry out an audit of the election results.
Bannon also regularly denied the results of the Brazilian election on his Gettr account. On November 2, he referred to the rolling unrest in the country as the “beginning of a Brazilian Spring,” a phrase he would repeat in the coming days.
The same day, as right-wing figures promoted the idea of a military audit that they hoped would change the results of the election, Bannon appeared to endorse a military coup. “The Military Represents,” he wrote alongside a video of camouflaged trucks driving through the streets.
On November 3, he shared a New York Times article reporting on the Bolsonaristas who wanted the military to intervene. “The People of Brazil will not tolerate the Globalist and the CCP stealing their country,” he wrote.
Later that month, Bannon called Lula a “transnational criminal” who “stole the Brazilian election,” describing it as “very clear.”
Even as it became increasingly obvious that Bolsonaro had no chance to return to power, Bannon kept the drumbeat going. “The People of Brazil will not tolerate a godless atheist Marxist like Lula to takeover illegally and destroy their country,” Bannon wrote on Christmas Eve.
Then on January 8, as the pro-Bolsonaro riot was commencing in Brazil’s capital, Bannon repeatedly posted on Gettr that “Lula stole the election” and referred to the insurrectionists as “Brazilian Freedom Fighters.”
Just as in the January 6 insurrection, the anti-democratic forces in Brazil were unsuccessful in changing the results of an election they lost. For Bannon, it’s yet another recent failure.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.
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