He has long styled himself as a tropical Trump – a socialist-skewering hard man fighting Brazilian carnage.
But in recent weeks Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has taken his fixation with the US leader to new heights, livestreaming himself on Facebook as he watched his political idol in action.
Appearance - Thursday - Trump - Acquittal - Senate
The latest such appearance came on Thursday as Trump celebrated his acquittal by the Senate in his impeachment trial with a vitriolic and vulgar address to the nation.
More than 4,000 miles to the south, at the heart of Brazil’s very own political swamp, Bolsonaro sat down to watch – filming himself viewing Trump’s entire hour-long address and offering the occasional aside to the camera, hailing his North American hero or berating foes in politics and the press.
Ones - Backstabbers - Politics - Bolsonaro - Mitt
“We’re not the only ones with backstabbers in politics,” Bolsonaro sniped of Mitt Romney’s decision to vote against Trump in the impeachment trial. “They’ve found a Republican rat too.”
Critics have derided Bolsonaro’s Trumpian transmissions – the latest of which lasted 73 minutes – as an obsequious waste of presidential time.
Lobão - Rock - Star - Bolsonaro - Critics
“It’s pitiful,” complained Lobão, a Brazilian rock star who voted for Bolsonaro in 2018 but has since become one of his harshest critics.
Lobão said he was perplexed by Bolsonaro’s “amorous incontinence” towards Trump. How, the musician wondered, could Brazil’s president express such “snivelling, doormat like adoration” of a US leader while simultaneously being a hardline nationalist?
Leftwing - Senator - Humberto - Costa - Brazilians
The leftwing senator Humberto Costa warned Brazilians would pay a high price for Bolsonaro’s fandom. “It’s not enough to be a doormat. One must show oneself to be a doormat,” Costa tweeted.
But Brian Winter, the editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly, saw method in what many call kowtowing.
Messaging - Trump - Message - Bolsonaro - Base
“I actually think this is serious and effective political messaging. Listening to Trump sends a strong symbolic message to Bolsonaro’s base that he is also leading the country...
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