Sunday, 15 September, 2019

Brazil's Bolsonaro says may appoint son as U.S. ambassador

Eduardo and Jair Bolsonaro during a political rally in Brasilia Eduardo and Jair Bolsonaro during a political rally in Brasilia
Deanna Wagner | 13 July, 2019, 14:28

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday that the nomination of his son Eduardo to be ambassador to the United States was not an act of nepotism and that he would not make the appointment if it were.

"In my opinion, he can be the right person and could present the message perfectly in Washington", Brazil's right-wing leader told reporters in Brasilia on Thursday.

Eduardo Bolsonaro, a federal congressman said, "I would accept the role if nominated".

"My son Eduardo speaks English, speaks Spanish ... is friends with the children of President Donald Trump", he said, adding that Eduardo would have to decide whether he wanted the post. The ambassadorship has been vacant since January 1, when Jair Bolsonaro took office.

He called the move "unprecedent in the history of Brazilian diplomacy" and said he was "certain" the Senate would not approve the nomination. Senate opposition leader Randolfe Rodrigues tweeted: "It's absurd that he's even being considered".

Though he is now the chief of the Foreign Liaison Committee of the House of Representatives, he has not actually held any diplomatic position before.

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When asked by reporters about his qualifications for the position, he said he had been in a foreign exchange programme where he "fried hamburgers in the United States, in the cold in Maine".

Mr Bolsonaro used to be elected final year after a a hit campaign he acknowledged had been inspired by Donald Trump.

The discipline of ambassador has been vacant since April.

Both the president and his son have a pro-US stance, breaking with Brazil's traditionally more cautious position, and Eduardo is openly pro-Israeli, whereas in the past Brazil has been careful not to offend Arab nations.

Eduardo would have to resign as a congressman if he did take up the position of ambassador.