Brazil’s new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is meeting with President Trump on Tuesday, furthering a budding political bromance in which the two men already have exchanged volleys of flattery. But not everyone in Latin America’s largest nation is applauding.
Bolsonaro on Tuesday faced a Twitter storm by domestic detractors, who took to social media — the tool that helped the 63-year-old former army captain get elected last year — to denounce him for allegedly selling out Latin America’s largest nation to the Yankees.
During his first trip to Washington as president, Bolsonaro on Monday made a rare visit to CIA headquarters — an unusual stop for a leader in a region that has long smarted at the overreach of U.S. power — while signaling a new era of Brazilian-American cooperation. Bolsonaro has expressed a willingness to allow a U.S. military base in Brazil.
Speaking on Fox News, Boslonaro made the polemic assertion that “the vast majority of immigrants do not have good intentions.”
The comment was just one more in a decades-long list of diatribes he has offered against women, minorities and gay people. But it appeared aimed in part at currying favor with Trump, who has made more aggressive immigration enforcement central to his administration.
The hashtag #BolsonaroEnvergonhaOBrasil — Bolsonaro shames Brazil — was a top social media trender worldwide. In one less-than-flattering image, Bolsonaro is on his knees licking Trump’s shoe, under the caption, “Make my shoes clean again.”
Several tweets showed Trump looming over Bolsonaro, subservient as a child, a horse or a dog at heel.
While several tweets were not printable in a family newspaper, several users attempted to be constructive.
“Taking advantage of the fact that this subject is the most talked about worldwide,” @miralathayde tweeted, "I wanted to say that there are Brazilians like me who do not feel represented by President Bolsonaro, he is an ambitious and prejudiced man who does not represent us.”
Brian Winter, editor of Americas Quarterly, noted possible pitfalls for Bolsonaro.
“There is a high risk that Bolsonaro, in his desire to please Trump, goes overboard — and offends Brazilians, including his own base,” Winter tweeted.
Many of Bolsonaro’s staunchest supporters in Brazil, including white men who have rebelled against political correctness, are also fans of Trump. Some used the hashtag #BolsonaroandTrump to herald the meeting of the U.S. president with the man the foreign press has dubbed “Trump of the Tropics."
“Now our country can show to the world that we’re great people and a great nation,” user Miguel Oliveira tweeted. "Bolsonaro is our presidente. Brazil above all. God above everyone