Trump hosts Brazil‘s Bolsonaro as the two populists aim to build stronger ties

President Donald Trump and Brazil‘s President Jair Bolsonaro, the anti-globalist leaders of the two largest economies in the Americas, met at the White House on Tuesday for their first face-to-face encounter.

An ardent admirer of Trump, Bolsonaro chose Washington as the site of his first state visit since being inaugurated in January. As one nationalist populist to another, Bolsonaro appears eager to strike up a personal alliance with Trump and to forge a strong bilateral relationship, two goals that set him apart from most of his predecessors.

“For the first time in a long time, a Brazilian President who is not anti-American arrives in Washington,” Bolsonaro tweeted on Sunday. “It is the beginning of a partnership for freedom and prosperity, as Brazilians have always wanted.”

Bolsonaro‘s use of Twitter is one of several stylistic similarities with Trump. Others include their bombastic rhetoric, their skepticism of climate change science, their scorn for traditional government ethics and their willingness to publicly attack news outlets if they receive negative press coverage.

As a result, some foreign policy experts have taken to calling Bolsonaro “the Trump of the tropics,” a nickname the Brazilian president has embraced.