Jair Bolsonaro backs Trump's border wall ahead of White House meeting

Minnie Murray
March 20, 2019

And he predicted the two would have a "fantastic working relationship", telling reporters at a joint press conference they have "many views" in common.

Bolsonaro - a nationalist, Twitter-loving, "fake-news" decrying politician - chose to make the first bilateral trip of his presidency to Washington, where he has found an important friend and ally in Trump.

"Whether it's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or it's something having to do with alliance", the United States is looking at enhancing its military relationship with Brazil, Trump said in response to a reporter's question. Socialism, Bolsonaro added, had "nearly conquered Latin America" under populist, left-wing governments like Brazil's former President Lula da Silva.

China long ago surpassed the United States as Brazil's biggest trading partner and Bolsonaro's economy minister on Monday urged the United States to open its market more to Brazil if it wanted to change the status quo.

A half-dozen ministers joined Bolsonaro during his three-day visit to Washington.

Bolsonaro had jump-started stalled talks over the base as part of his pro-U.S. approach.

Ahead of Tuesday's warm welcome at the White House, Bolsonaro said the United States and Brazil would sign an agreement permitting American satellite and rocket launches from Brazil's Alcantara space launch center.

As a congressman, Mr Bolsonaro frequently made disparaging comments about minorities and he has praised torture and killings by police and waxed nostalgic for Brazil's old military dictatorship.

Acosta, who had his press credentials suspended past year for making contact with a White House aide during a news conference, "was confronted by angel moms last month after he challenged Trump over what he described as a "disconnect" in his description of illegal immigration", Fox News' Brian Flood reported. Given their respective preference for tough-talk and mutual admiration, the joint appearance is particularly eagerly awaited.

The former paratrooper is vehemently opposed to leftist currents, both at home and overseas, and he shares the USA president's hostility to the "dictator" Maduro, who took over after the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez in 2013.

A senior administration official, who requested anonymity, told reporters Bolsonaro's visit represented a "real opportunity to fundamentally remake our relationship with Brazil".

Both men have promised to move their respective embassies in Israel to Jerusalem, and hold a mutual skepticism towards multilateralism.

"The U.S. warlike influence on Brazil and the supremacist theses of Donald Trump on Jair Bolsonaro are of great concern", it said in a statement.

His trip to Washington was be Bolsonaro's first overseas bilateral visit, an honor White House officials say illustrates the new president's commitment to fostering U.S. ties.

(Carolyn Kaster/AP) President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk leave after attending service at Saint John's Church in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2019.

In an interview with Fox News Monday, Mr Bolsonaro said he supported Mr Trump's immigration policies and his efforts to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. "So, what they do, like most people do when confronted with failure, is they hit their head against the wall even harder".

"When you have the President of Brazil calling the press fake news, he is - he is trying to essentially, you know, in a sycophantic sort of way, suck up to the President of the United States", Acosta continued.

"It's a shame what's happening in Venezuela", said Trump, noting death, destruction and hunger in the South American country under the leadership of Nicolas Maduro who remains in power in Caracas.

As they sat down for talks, Mr Trump also said he supports Brazil's effort's to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and is "very strongly" looking at United States support for Brazil's effort to gain certain Nato privileges.

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