In a speech of a few minutes to a crowd of supporters on Avenida Paulista, on the afternoon of September 7th, President Jair Bolsonaro mentioned ideas and old names known to his audience: he spoke in printed vote, quoted God, attacked the Federal Supreme Court ( STF) and said that “we are not going to accept that people like (Minister) Alexandre de Moraes continue to lash our democracy.”
Shortly thereafter, however, Bolsonaro made a remark that most of his supporters may not have understood. “Just now, (Alexandre de Moraes) intercepted an American citizen to be questioned.”
The American citizen who deserved the Brazilian president’s mention in his speech is Jason Miller, former advisor to former American president Donald Trump and creator of the social network GETTR, which intends to shelter the main representatives of the global right and calls itself free in any form of moderation for false content or incitement to violence.
This is an agenda that has become urgent among right-wing politicians especially after Trump was suspended and banned from networks like Facebook and Twitter, where he addressed tens of millions of people. The platforms justified the punishment for messages posted by Trump that inflamed the public on the day of the invasion of the US Congress by Republican supporters, on January 6th.
Miller spent the last few days in Brasília, both to promote his network, which has the second largest country of origin for users in Brazil, and to participate in the Conservative Political Action Conference, organized by the president’s son, Federal Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL -SP).
While in Brasília, Miller met the president himself at the Palácio do Alvorada, as shown in photos published by Matthew Tyrmand, one of the members of the delegation to Brazil of the former advisor to Trump.
In the same period that he received Miller’s visit, Bolsonaro edited a Provisional Measure that prohibits social networks from removing content or accounts that violate the norms of use of the platforms and, in practice, frees the publication of false news, including on electoral processes .
The change in the civil framework of the internet was named the Trump Law and is seen as a buffer so that the pocket network are not taken off the air as happened with the republican ones.
While leaving the country on Tuesday morning, Jason Miller was taken to the Federal Police room at Brasília International Airport to be heard in the scope of the fake news investigation, under the command of Minister Alexandre de Moraes. Bolsonaro is investigated in the same procedure. On social media, Tyrmand claimed that Miller was being “interrogated by anti-Bolsonarists of the Supreme Court.”
On his Instagram account, Miller stated that his entourage was interviewed for three hours. “We weren’t accused of anything wrong and they told us they ‘just wanted to talk.’ We informed them that we had nothing to say and were eventually released to take our flight back to the US. around the world,” wrote Miller.
In a statement, the American’s lawyers, Milena Ramos Câmara and João Vinícius Manssur, stated that “they did not have full access to the records of the aforementioned investigations, which is why (Miller and other members of the delegation) availed themselves of the constitutional right to silence”. Although he left the country in the early afternoon of September 7, lawyers said that Miller remains “at the disposal of the Brazilian authorities”.
BBC News Brasil contacted the STF and the PF, but none of the bodies commented or released documentation regarding the action.
But, after all, who is Jason Miller?
Jason Miller is a political communications strategist who participated in both Trump’s first campaign in 2016 and in the re-election effort in 2020. Until June 2021, Miller was also one of Trump’s spokespersons, a post from which he rightly left. to launch the GETTR network, which had almost immediate enthusiasm from the Bolsonaros. The president’s sons keep pages on Miller’s network.
Miller’s GETTR effort is closely tied to Trump. In March, while still a spokesman for the former president, Miller said Trump would make a return to social media despite his ban or suspension from mainstream media. “This new social network will be big,” he said, making clear his boss’s involvement in the idea he later launched. Miller, however, denies that Trump is behind the venture or has any involvement in managing it.
In August, in an interview with the New York Times, Miller stated that his platform already had nearly two million users and celebrated the adhesion of people from Brazil: “We were lucky to have people from other countries participating. Brazil represents around 13.5% of our base, which is great”.
Miller has gained fame as a skilled strategist for winning tough races in the Republican Party since the early 2000s. In 2008, he participated in the presidential campaign of Republican Rudy Giuliani, who in 2020 would serve as Trump’s lawyer and be primarily responsible for the court battles of the president against the American electoral process. Despite the dozens of allegations of electoral fraud by Trump, the courts found none of his claims consistent.
During Trump’s presidency, Miller was even named director of communications for the White House, but he stepped back from the position just two days later, saying he needed to spend more time with his family.
Hired as a political analyst for the television network CNN in 2017, he left the position after being accused in a court case of inducing a woman with whom he would have had a relationship to take abortive substances, which he denies. “I decided to step away from my role as a political commentator on CNN to focus on clearing my name and fighting the false and defamatory charges being leveled against me,” he said at the time.
Miller has shown interest in being a presence in the Brazilian political scene, as has the former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, considered one of the main ideologues of trumpism.
In Miller’s case, not only ideological convergence, but the possibility of growing his new business, explain the interest. This Tuesday, Miller painted the front page of his GETTR yellow, the same color Bolsonaro supporters used when taking to the streets. “Happy Independence Day to our friends in Brazil,” he wrote