Trump Wants to Reward Brazil’s Far-Right President With Special NATO Status

The love-fest just took another strange turn.

Chris Kleponis/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

Adding a diplomatic spin to his repeated praise for Brazil’s authoritarian leader Jair Bolsonaro, President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that he intended to give Brazil the designation of “major non-NATO ally”—a status that would extend some of the alliance’s economic and military privileges to the South American country.

“We had a great meeting today,” Trump said in a joint press conference alongside Bolsonaro from the Rose Garden. “As I told President Bolsonaro, I also intend to designate Brazil as a major non-NATO ally, or even possibly, if you start thinking about it, maybe a NATO ally.” 

Perhaps recognizing the significant diplomatic hurdles that would likely hinder the latter proposal, Trump added, “Have to talk a lot of people but maybe a NATO ally, which will greatly advance security and cooperation between our countries.”

It was an unusual suggestion by a president who has repeatedly expressed his antipathy towards the nearly 70-year-old alliance, from threatening to withdraw the US, to making an international spectacle out of its annual summit by publicly insulting its members and claiming they’ve failed to carry their weight in defense spending.

Trump’s push to offer NATO privileges to Brazil further extended the love-fest between the two leaders, whose exchanges have focused on mutual admiration. During the Rose Garden press conference, Trump repeatedly praised the Brazilian leader, who has been called the “Brazilian Trump.”

In another nod to building stronger ties with the largest country in South America, Trump on Tuesday also said that he supported Bolsonaro’s efforts to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international organization focused on economic progress.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.