President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he felt “very proud” when he heard Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro use the term “fake news” earlier the same day, The Hill reports. The president heaped praise on Bolsonaro during a rant against broadcast networks and tech companies, institutions which he believes have an anti-Trump and anti-conservative agenda.
“You look at the networks, you look at the newscasts. I call it fake news. I’m very proud to hear the president use the term fake news.”
Bolsonaro used the term during his opening remarks at Tuesday’s White House news conference.
“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 or the politically correct attitudes and against fake news.”
The news conference was the first meeting between the two world leaders, who have been noted for their similarities. The pair spoke about improving relations between the United States and Brazil, and acknowledged their “similar” views — something which Trump claims is a sign of what will become “a fantastic working relationship.” And as The Hill reports, experts seem to agree that they will work well together, particularly on foreign policy issues related to Israel and Venezuela.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is sometimes called the "Trump of the Tropics," decried "fake news" and predicted US President Donald Trump's re-election during his first official visit overseas https://t.co/iqJzI6cBIy pic.twitter.com/b2iVx3JYNk— CNN (@CNN) March 19, 2019
Bolsonaro is a retired military officer that was elected as Brazil’s 38th president as of January 1, 2019, despite being an outsider. Before his win, he frequently stirred up controversy for his praise of Brazil’s former military dictatorship and for his contentious comments about women and the LGBTQ community.
As with Trump, Bolsonaro is accused of taking an anti-immigration stance, and even campaigned on the slogan of “Brazil before everything, and God above all.” Some believe the phrase to be a nod toward Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again,” USA Today reports.
Monica de Bolle, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, believes that Bolsonaro’s visit was a political move to appease the people that voted him into power — the far-right nationalists that have overlapping beliefs with the American religious right.
“He’s looking to appease and placate his base,” she said.
Steven Bannon, who was the White House chief strategist in Trump’s administration during the first seven months, believes that the meeting was arranged to set the foundation for their future relationship.
“They’re very similar,” he said. “It’s about economic growth and making their countries great again.”
Regardless of the purpose of the meeting, both presidents are unlikely to shy away from the spotlight. Bolsonaro was recently the target of a protest on International Women’s Day in Brazil, as per Reuters, and Trump shows no signs of becoming any less controversial.