Jair Bolsonaro, the anti-LGBTQ president of Brazil who’s been called the “Trump of the Tropics,” praised Donald Trump’s similarly anti-LGBTQ ideology after the two met today.
“In conclusion, may I say that Brazil and the United States stand side by side in their efforts to share liberties and respect to traditional and family lifestyles, respect to God, our creator, against the gender ideology of the politically correct attitudes, and fake news,” Bolsonaro said at a White House press conference.
Bolsonaro, who was elected president last year after a tenure in Brazil’s Congress, has famously said he would rather have a dead son than a gay one and that if he saw men kissing each other on the street, he would punch them. He has criticized what he calls “gender-based ideology,” saying it threatens Brazil’s Christian values, likened indigenous people to animals, and said a female legislator was too ugly to be raped. His early acts in office have included deprioritizing LGBTQ rights and calling for the erasure of LGBTQ and feminist history from school textbooks, as he claims these subjects are “Marxist rubbish.”
At the press conference today, Trump congratulated Bolsonaro on his “tremendous election victory” and said they will “have a fantastic working relationship” and “forge even stronger ties.” He added, “We certainly feel very, very true to each other.”
He also said he and Bolsonaro were united in opposition to Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, and other regimes they consider socialist. “The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere, and hopefully, by the way, it’s also arrived, that twilight hour, in our great country,” Trump said.
Trump said he intends to designate Brazil as a “major non-NATO ally” or perhaps even a NATO ally, referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a security alliance formed after World War II.
He expressed delight that Bolsonaro used the term “fake news,” and the American president further accused social media platforms of discriminating against conservatives. He said some tech executives have a “hatred … for a certain group of people that happen to be in power — that happen to have won the election.”
“Something’s happening with those groups of folks that are running Facebook and Google and Twitter, and I do think we have to get to the bottom of it,” he said.
LGBTQ groups criticized Trump for “normalizing” Bolsonaro. “Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is a tyrant who has condoned violence against LGBTQ people, even if it means death,” said a statement issued by Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD. “Americans should be disturbed that the president of the United States is holding meetings with Bolsonaro and choosing to set a dangerous precedent by normalizing an anti-LGBTQ tyrant.”
Watch the full press conference below.