US President Trump hosts Brazil’s Bolsonaro at White House

Latin America

US President Donald Trump takes part in a joint press conference with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro in the Rose Garden at the White House on March 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)

The presidents of the top two economies in the Americas met at the White House. Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro was making his first official visit to the United States.

He held talks with President Trump on everything from trade to Venezuela’s political crisis. The two men are seen as ideological allies with some differences. CGTN’s Nathan King reported on what the two leaders had to say.

Dubbed “Trump of the Tropics,” the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro had warm words for the original Trump. “This meeting of ours today restores an old traditional partnership and, at the same time, starts a new chapter of cooperation between Brazil and the United States,” Bolsonaro said. “After all, it is fair to say today Brazil does have a president who is not anti-American which really unprecedented in the past few decades.”

Despite their personal warmth, little detail from the Brazilian president’s first bilateral visit abroad. On Venezuela, both nations are pushing for Nicolas Maduro to step aside, but no details about next steps. “We really haven’t done the really tough sanctions yet. We can do the tough sanctions. All options are open,” Trump said.

The U.S. president held out the prospect of closer economic cooperation with Brazil. Brasilia has high tariffs, but Brazil is one of the countries with whom the U.S. runs a trade surplus.

On the security front, Trump talked of Brazil becoming an ally—either in, or out, of NATO.

Space cooperation is moving forward, but the two biggest economies in the hemisphere have a lot of differences despite their leaders’ affinity.

Brazil is also a member of the BRICs grouping. At the White House, in response to a question about China, Bolsonaro said Brazil will continue to do as much business with Beijing as possible.