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Trump praises Bolsonaro, says US can ‘help’ stop Amazon fires



President Donald Trump apparently had a great conversation with Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday as thousands of manmade fires continued to burn the Amazon rainforest. Trump tweeted that the US could “help” with the 10,000 fires that were started since August 15, although most of them were likely intentionally started by farmers who are clearing land.

“Just spoke with President @JairBolsonaro of Brazil,” the president tweeted on Friday. “Our future Trade prospects are very exciting and our relationship is strong, perhaps stronger than ever before. I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest fires, we stand ready to assist!”

Bolsonaro has been combative with politicians like French President Emmanual Macron, who called for the fires to be discussed at this weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France, which Trump is attending. Bolsonaro replied to a tweet sent by Macron calling the fires an international crisis, saying it was an “internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries.”

This map shows every fire that has started burning since August 13, 2019 across central South America.
Courtesy of Global Fire Watch

The recent fires, which join the uptick of almost twice as many Amazon fires as recorded last year, are widespread enough to be seen from space. The Amazon rainforest provides 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, and as Bolsonaro has advocated against environmental regulations and indigenous peoples’ rights in the Amazon region, scientists fear that the unprecedented amount of carbon lost during fires could speed up climate change.

Bolsonaro is a far-right politician who has explored fringe political ideas over the course of his career, with the Human Rights Watch calling particular concern to his open endorsement of the brutal dictatorship that controlled Brazil between 1964 and 1985.

Read more: Fires in the Amazon could be part of a doomsday scenario that sees the rainforest spewing carbon into the atmosphere and speeding up climate change even more

Trump’s emphasis on trade with Brazil in his tweet follows an erratic few days of tweeting activity about raising tariffs on Chinese goods, escalating a trade war which some economists worry may be setting the stage for a recession.

Two of Bolsonaro’s four sons replied to Trump’s tweet, with Carlos Bolsonaro writing “Thanks, Mr. President! And we Brazilian people agree! Hugs from Brazil!” Eduardo Bolsonaro replied “Thank you, Mr President. Certainly Brazil-US relations are getting better every day.”

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