By Agence France-Presse
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s much-hyped visit to the United States ignited a firestorm on Twitter Tuesday as critics and supporters of the far-right leader flooded the social media site, highlighting the country’s deep political divisions.
The hashtag #BolsonaroEnvergonhaOBrasil, or #BolsonaroShamesBrazil, has been used more than 100,000 times, making it one of the top trending topics worldwide as Bolsonaro met with his US counterpart Donald Trump in the White House.
Rival hashtag #BolsonaroOrgulhoDoBrazil, or #BolsonaroPrideOfBrazil, also ranks as a top trending topic with almost 90,000 tweets.
Accusing Bolsonaro of “ignorance,” critics were scathing in their mockery of the ultraconservative leader, who they said had acted like a “puppet” during his trip aimed at strengthening ties with Washington.
They honed in on Bolsonaro’s decision to eliminate visas for American citizens who travel to Brazil, without the US reciprocating, and his support of Trump’s controversial immigration policy.
Offensive cartoons depicted Bolsonaro squatting on the ground like a dog in front of a food bowl next to Trump, who is seated at a table eating a meal by candlelight.
Another showed Bolsonaro as a horse being ridden by the US leader.
“Hey @realDonaldTrump, are you happy with your new donkey-pony?” one user tweeted.
A more lurid cartoon depicted Trump with his trousers around his ankles, giving his Brazilian counterpart a “golden shower” — a reference to obscene footage recently tweeted by Bolsonaro of a man urinating on another man’s head.
Brazilian media said it was filmed during this month’s carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro. Bolsonaro had said the footage was proof the country’s famous celebration was out of control.
The tough-talking Bolsonaro has long expressed his admiration for Trump and wears his nickname “Trump of the Tropics” with pride.
He echoes the US leader in spurning multilateral organizations and leftist politics while promoting businesses over environmental concerns at home.
But Bolsonaro’s visit to the US, his first trip abroad for a bilateral meeting since taking office on January 1, also drew plenty of praise.
“Grande dia! Great day!” Dona Regina posted on Twitter along with a photo of the two leaders.
Another tweeted: “We are proud of our elected President of Brazil, Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Together Brazil and USA will be STRONGER.”