In recent days, a few press reports have mischaracterized meetings that I had with Brazilian officials. Allegations were made that I suggested a particular outcome on an issue that would favor the election chances of one presidential candidate over another. Any interpretation of my defense of long-standing commercial interests during an election year as an attempt to benefit a particular presidential candidate is simply not correct.
What I have done in those meetings was to continue to advocate for open trade and cooperation on commercial issues as well as pursue other areas of mutual interest for both the United States and Brazil.
At no time did I ask that Brazilians take any actions in support of any U.S. candidate. As a career diplomat with nearly 30 years of public service, I have had the pleasure to serve the U.S. government under administrations of both political parties. I always take very seriously my responsibilities under the Hatch Act, the U.S. legislation that restricts U.S. federal officials from participating in partisan political activities both within the United States and abroad. Moreover, it is the American people, and only the American people, who decide the outcome of U.S. elections.
I have greatly appreciated the introductory meetings I have had over the past few months with a wide range of Brazilian government officials to continue to learn more about the opportunities and challenges in our bilateral relationship. The U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Brazil and I look forward to continuing to cultivate a wide-ranging and mutually-beneficial relationship between the people of the United States and people of Brazil.