By Jen Kirby* – VOX Media
The Brazilian president made the case for his nickname “Trump of the Tropics”
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and US President Donald Trump stood side by side in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, promoting the partnership between Brazil and the US and seizing the chance to bash “fake news.”
It was a striking reminder of how quickly the United States has embraced Bolsonaro — and why the far-right populist Brazilian leader has earned the nickname “Trump of the Tropics.”
Bolsonaro’s visit to the White House appeared to cement the friendship between the two leaders, which began in earnest after Bolsonaro’s election in October. The two spent most of the press conference discussing the “new chapter of cooperation” between Brazil and the United States, as Bolsonaro called it.
The Bush administration had somewhat frosty relations with Brazil’s leftist government, and though President Obama sought to build closer ties, the partnership faced setbacks, including the revelation from the Edward Snowden NSA leaks that the US had then-Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s emails and phone under surveillance.
The election of Bolsonaro — who’s expressed fondness for Brazil’s military dictatorship and has a history of making racist, misogynistic remarks — might have spelled another cooler period in US-Brazil relations, at least rhetorically.
Instead, the two leaders are working closely on Venezuela — where they both oppose current leader Nicolás Maduro — and previewed plans for closer economic and security cooperation. Trump said the US would designate Brazil as a major non-NATO ally (a designation that makes it easier for the two to cooperate on defense, including facilitating the purchase of US weapons) and then added that he might consider making Brazil a NATO ally, though he’d “have to talk to a lot of people.”
But what was perhaps most jarring about Bolsonaro and Trump’s meeting was how closely their worldviews seemed to align. This came across most clearly when Bolsonaro vowed that the US would stand against “fake news.”
“Brazil and the United States stand side by side in their efforts to ensure liberties and respect to traditional family lifestyles, respect to God our creator, and stand against gender ideologies and politically incorrect attitudes and against fake news,” Bolsonaro said Tuesday, through a translator.
His statement, made alongside the US president, was striking, and a direct example of how he ran his campaign and his presidency so far. Bolsonaro and the cabinet he appointed often promote so-called traditional values, and Bolsonaro consistently attacks “gender ideology” — a kind of catchall that refers to LGBTQ rights, feminism, and leftist ideals that he sees as undermining the social order.
Bolsonaro also flings the term “fake news” at his critics, including those in media. He stirs fears over “gender ideology” and berates “fake news” to rally his base and distract from scandals in his administration and his increasingly unpopular agenda; in February, his approval rating fell to about 39 percent.
None of what Bolsonaro said about “gender ideology” received endorsement from Trump — but neither did it get any pushback.
But Trump later credited Bolsonaro for bringing up “fake news,” in responding to a question from the right-leaning outlet the Daily Caller about social media companies being liable for the content on their sites. And though Trump didn’t go much further than that in Tuesday’s press conference, it’s a talking point he uses often. Just Tuesday morning, he once again declared “fake news” the “Enemy of the People and Our Country.”
Trump cozying up to authoritarian leaders is nothing new, but Bolsonaro got his “Trump of the Tropics” nickname for a reason: Both men are democratically elected leaders who indulge in undemocratic tendencies and rhetoric. Their appearance together in the Rose Garden was another striking example of the Trump administration’s shift in tone on issues of free speech and human rights — and why Bolsonaro has so often been compared to Trump.
*Jen Kirby, Foreign and National Security Reporter, Vox Media
Trump Says He’s ‘Very Proud to Hear’ Brazilian President Use the Term ‘Fake News’
Lizzie Helmer – Independent Journal Review (IJR)
Newly elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro got a reaction out of President Donald Trump when he mentioned “fake news” in his address at the White House on Tuesday.
“In conclusion, may I say that Brazil and the United States stand side by side in their efforts to ensure liberties in respect to traditional family lifestyles, respect to God our creator, against the gender ideology of the politically correct attitudes and against fake news,” the Brazilian president said, translated in English by an interpreter.
Trump gave a notable nod right after “fake news” was mentioned.
Trump went on to speak about how he won the election in 2016 despite his belief that the media had a “stacked deck” against him.
“You look at the networks, you look at the news, you look at the newscasts — I call it fake news, I’m very proud to hear the president use the term fake news,” Trump said, referencing Bolsonaro’s comments just moments before.
Bolsonaro has used the term “fake news” a few times since his election win just five months ago.
As Politico reported in July, many world leaders have been seemingly inspired by Trump and have taken up the phrase “fake news” themselves.
In June of last year, Egypt put in place a “fake news” ban that allowed the jailing of journalists. Malaysia passed a similar law a few months prior.
But the far-right former army captain Bolsonaro has further concerned leftists around the world, especially for his derogatory views and comments on LGBT people and women.
The Brazilian president has said he’s a fan of Trump and said Tuesday ahead of their meeting that he supports Trump’s push for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“The vast majority of potential immigrants do not have good intentions,” he said Tuesday. “They do not intend to do the best or do good to the U.S. people.”