Nets Ignore Trump’s First Meeting With Pro-U.S. Brazilian President

It was a meeting worth taking note of, not just because President Trump was meeting with the so-called “Trump of the Tropics” but because of what it could mean for both countries going forward, and for dealing with the crisis in Venezuela. But the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) were apparently bored by Trump’s Tuesday meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and ignored it altogether.

Meanwhile, ABC and NBC had time to gawk at the strange public feud between Trump and George Conway, the husband of adviser Kellyanne Conway. Fox News Channel’s Special Report had their priorities more organized and began their program with the historic meeting.

“We begin, though, with President Trump saying all options are still on the table in the effort to remove Venezuela's disputed President and his socialist government,” reported anchor Brett Baier from outside the White House. “The American leader saying in the Rose Garden even stronger sanctions may be coming. He spoke with reporters this afternoon alongside the visiting Brazilian President.”

Arguably one of the most newsworthy developments to come out of the meeting was that Bolsonaro offered to base U.S. troops in Brazil if military action was needed to oust Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro:

JOHN ROBERTS: Brazil shares a border with Venezuela and has been assisting the U.S. in giving humanitarian aid to Venezuelans fleeing economic collapse. Bolsonaro indicated he may allow U.S. troops to base out of Brazil if the need for military action arises.

JAIR BOLSONARO (via translator): Brazil would be of more than willing and ready to fulfill this mission and take freedom and democracy to that country.

 

 

Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts noted the historical nature of Bolsonaro’s stance with the U.S. “Bolsonaro also represents a break from a long line of anti-U.S. leaders, promising a new relationship with America on everything from trade to energy to military cooperation. President Trump is happy to embrace the change,” he reported.

On NewsHour, PBS foreign affairs and defense correspondent Nick Schifrin elaborated further: “Jair Bolsonaro is the first unabashedly pro-American Brazilian president since the end of military rule in the 1980s, and made the U.S. his first bilateral foreign visit.”

“It is time to overcome old resistance and explore the very best potential that is there between Brazil and the U.S. After all, it is fair to say, today, Brazil has a president who is not anti-American, which is really unprecedented in the last few decades,” Bolsonaro said in a speech to the press.

Instead of reporting on this, ABC and NBC hyped George Conway’s anti-Trump tweets. NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander was on Nightly News elevating Conway’s suggestion that Trump was “not mentally fit to serve, even posting from the American Psychiatric Association's Manual of Disorders, citing narcissistic personality disorder with its need for admiration and lack of empathy, adding ‘his condition is getting worse.’”

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

Fox News Channel’s Special Report
March 19, 2019
6:00:56 p.m. Eastern

BRETT BAIER: We begin, though, with President Trump saying all options are still on the table in the effort to remove Venezuela's disputed President and his socialist government. The American leader saying in the Rose Garden even stronger sanctions may be coming. He spoke with reporters this afternoon alongside the visiting Brazilian President. Chief White House correspondent John Roberts was there. Good evening John.

JOHN ROBERTS: Good evening Brett, and a lovely afternoon in the Rose Garden it was. So far, the effort to oust Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro has been unsuccessful, there have been some cracks in his regime, but so far none big enough to wedge him out.

[Cuts to video]

Venezuela was topic “A” in President Trump's first meeting with the new Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro. President Trump indicating he has no idea when Nicolas Maduro may step down, if ever.

DONALD TRUMP: I'm not being told any specific time but we really haven't done the really tough sanctions yet, we can do the tough sanctions and all options are open.

ROBERTS: Brazil shares a border with Venezuela and has been assisting the U.S. in giving humanitarian aid to Venezuelans fleeing economic collapse. Bolsonaro indicated he may allow U.S. troops to base out of Brazil if the need for military action arises.

JAIR BOLSONARO (via translator): Brazil would be of more than willing and ready to fulfill this mission and take freedom and democracy to that country.

ROBERTS: In welcoming Bolsonaro to the White House, President Trump was almost looking at the mirror. Bolsonaro is known as the Trump of the Tropics. He has the same views as the President on immigration, uses Twitter as a megaphone, and decries fake news.

TRUMP: We’re going to have a fantastic working relationship. We have many views that are similar.

ROBERTS: Bolsonaro also represents a break from a long line of anti-U.S. leaders, promising a new relationship with America on everything from trade to energy to military cooperation. President Trump is happy to embrace the change.

TRUMP: 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. [Transition] Which will greatly advance security and cooperation between our countries.

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

ROBERTS: President Trump also used Bolsonaro's visit to take a swing at the emerging socialist movement in the Democratic Party here. Bolsonaro won the presidency in Brazil by campaigning against socialist corruption that led to Brazil's economic decline. President Trump repeated his mantra that the U.S. economy is stronger than ever and the last thing we need is socialism.

NB Daily Foreign Policy South America Venezuela Bias by Omission Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Cable Television Fox News Channel Special Report NB Polls Bret Baier John Roberts Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway

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