Lisandra Paraguassu and Roberta Rampton, Reuters, March 19, 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump gave Brazil’s new far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro a ringing endorsement in the Oval Office on Tuesday, saying he was looking at a NATO membership or some other alliance for Brazil.
At the outset of their first meeting, the two populist presidents exchanged soccer jerseys from their national teams, with Trump’s name emblazoned on Brazil’s famous yellow shirt and Bolsonaro’s on the USA uniform.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain who styled his 2018 campaign on Trump’s 2016 run, has declared himself on unabashed admirer of the U.S. president and his politics and the American way of life.
Trump did give his verbal support, however, to expanding Brazil’s presence in major multinational organizations, like NATO and the OECD.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Oval Office meeting, Bolsonaro waived a visa requirement for U.S. visitors to Brazil and later in a Fox News interview on Monday night threw his weight behind Trump’s immigration agenda, which includes a wall on the Mexican border.
“We do agree with President Trump’s decision or proposal on the wall,” Bolsonaro said, in remarks translated to English by the broadcaster. “The vast majority of potential immigrants do not have good intentions. They do not intend to do the best or do good to the U.S. people.”