Tuesday, July 14, 2020

LATIN AMERICA | 12-07-2019 14:02

Brazil's Bolsonaro 'considering own son for US ambassador post'

The outspoken Brazilian leader said he’s considering the cost-benefit of the decision and cited his son's friendship with the children of President Trump.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is weighing the nomination of his son Eduardo, a lawmaker, to become the nation’s ambassador to the United States, as he seeks to strengthen ties with Donald Trump.

The outspoken Brazilian leader said he’s considering the cost-benefit of the decision and cited his son's friendship with the children of President Trump.

"In my opinion, he can be the right person and could present the message perfectly in Washington," Brazil's right-wing leader told reporters in Brasilia on Thursday.

Imagine if Mauricio Macri’s son were here in Brazil as ambassador,” said Bolsonaro, referring to Argentina’s president. “Obviously, he would get different treatment than that given to a normal ambassador.”

But the decision is up to Eduardo, he added, who would have to resign from Congress and secure approval by the Senate.

Eduardo Bolsonaro, 35, is president of the Lower House’s Foreign Relations Committee. He has formed ties with Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon and joined his global right-wing group called The Movement. He is also seen as Brazil’s shadow foreign minister, for example sitting in on his father’s meeting with Trump during a diplomatic visit to Washington in March.

In an interview following his father’s comments, Eduardo said a formal decision would be announced in the next few days.

"If the president entrusts me with this mission, I would be ready to resign my mandate," he said.

“I’m the president’s son, I speak English, those credentials somewhat qualify me for the job,” he told reporters in Brasilia.

"I speak English, I speak Spanish, I was elected with a record number of votes, I am chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee... I believe these credentials give me a certain qualification."

President Bolsonaro has often been referred to as the 'Tropical Trump,' thanks to his right-wing nationalism, tendency to speak off-the-cuff, and use of social media to bypass traditional news outlets.

His main foreign policy objective thus far has been to draw closer to Trump’s administration. Weeks after his March state visit to the US, Brazil’s prior ambassador to the country was relieved of his post.

Selecting his son to occupy the high-profile post risks outcry over perceived nepotism. Such concerns were voiced months ago when another of his sons was reported to be in the running for a job in his administration.

The president announced he was considering his son for the role one day after Eduardo turned 35 – the minimum legal age required for overseas ambassadorships in Brazil. 

Eduardo “is friends with Donald Trump’s sons, speaks English, speaks Spanish, and has a lot of life experience in the world,” Bolsonaro said. “In my understanding, he could be an adequate person and would take perfect care of our message in Washington.”

– Times/AFP/Bloomberg


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