Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Jair Messias Bolsonaro of Brazil and an Exchange With Reporters

March 19, 2019

President Trump. Thank you very much. It's a great honor to have President Bolsonaro with us from Brazil. He has done a very outstanding job; ran one of the incredible campaigns. Somebody said it a little bit reminded people of our campaign, which I'm honored by. But it was a tough, well-fought-out campaign.

And we are going to be discussing, today, Venezuela. We'll be discussing trade. We'll be discussing many subjects. And Brazil is a great friend. I think probably because of the relationship that we have, Brazil and the United States have never been closer than they are right now.

[At this point, President Bolsonaro made remarks in Portuguese. Before his remarks were translated, a reporter began to ask a question as follows.]

Q. Mr. President——

Interpreter. Excuse me. Translation now.

[The interpreter translated President Bolsonaro's remarks as follows.]

President Bolsonaro. It gives me great pleasure to be here in United States to take part in this visit. After decades on end of anti-U.S. Presidents in Brazil, Brazil has indeed made a major shift in 2017. Obviously enough, we do have a great deal to talk about. We do share a lot in common. And we will certainly work to—[inaudible]—the benefit of our two peoples.

We do have a great deal of shared values. I admire President Donald Trump. And we will certainly work towards the benefit of our two nations. Because, just as President Donald Trump wants to have a great America, I, on my side, also want to have and ensure we have a great Brazil.

So yes, increasingly, from now onwards, Brazil will become increasingly engaged with the U.S., and I'm very proud and pleased that that is so.

President Trump. Thank you very much. That's very nice. Thank you.

Q. Mr. President——

President Trump. And I think, before we begin, I think we would like to—you know, Brazil is a great, great soccer power and a great country. And we're going to present that, and I believe they have one also. But you know all about Brazil being the great soccer power. They have great, great players. I can still remember Pelé and so many others. You've had a fantastic history.

So we're going to exchange jerseys. I see that we got one, and this is the U.S. National Team. And so that's an honor to give that to you. Thank you very much.

[At this point, President Trump presented a U.S. National Soccer Team jersey to President Bolsonaro. President Bolsonaro then spoke in Portuguese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows.] President Bolsonaro. I'm a little younger, but I also do remember Pelé.

President Trump. Yes, right. Right.

[President Bolsonaro made remarks in Portuguese. Before his remarks were translated, he presented a Brazilian national soccer team jersey to President Trump.]

President Trump. Thank you.

[An interpreter translated President Bolsonaro's remarks as follows.]

President Bolsonaro. Let me use the opportunity, Mr. President, to hand you a gift, a jersey, as a token of—as an emblematic token of the world's best-ever soccer player, Edson Arantes do Nascimento——

President Trump. Yes.

President Bolsonaro. ——also known as Pelé, who gave us so much joy by playing football and for his talent at football.

Brazil/North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Q. Mr. Trump, Brazil is offering the access——

Q. Mr. President, can you grant Brazil NATO privileges? Can you grant Brazil NATO privileges? Are you——

President Trump. Well, we're looking at it very strongly. We're very inclined to do that. The relationship that we have right now with Brazil has never been better. I think there was a lot of hostility with other Presidents. There is zero hostility with me. And we were going—we're going to look at that very, very strongly, in terms of whether it's NATO or it's something having to do with alliance. But we have a great alliance with Brazil, better than we've ever had before.

Brazil-U.S. Relations/Brazil-U.S. Trade

Q. Mr. President, Brazil is working to offer the United States access to a rocket launch site in Brazil. Americans will be able to go to Brazil without a visa. What would you like President Bolsonaro to get to Brazil—to take to Brazil as a result of this visit?

President Trump. Well, we have—we're working on different military sites and military options. We're working on visas and going in a much easier fashion. All of that is good. And we have many things that Brazil would like, and I think we're working on those things.

One of the big elements of the relationship is trade. Brazil makes great product, and we make great product. And our trade has been never as good as it should be in the past. And in some cases, it should be far, far more.

So I think our trade with Brazil will go substantially up in both directions, and we look forward to that. And that's one of the things that Brazil would like to see.

Q. Mr. President——

Steve [Steve A. Holland, Reuters]. Steve.


Q. Mr. President, you're going to talk about Venezuela. What do you want to see happen in Venezuela? President Trump. Well, we don't want to say exactly. I know exactly what I want to happen in Venezuela, but we're going to be talking about different things. All options are on the table. And it's a shame what's happening in Venezuela, the death and the destruction and the hunger. Hard to believe one of the wealthiest countries is now one of the poorest and most impoverished countries. So we'll be talking about that in great length.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/Venezuela

Q. [Inaudible]—Mr. President, Brazil involved on a military action in Venezuela? And also, are you offering Brazil—are you supporting Brazil's efforts to join the OECD?

President Trump. I am supporting their efforts to join, and we are just going to decide—I think I can speak for both countries: All options are on the table. Every option is on the table with respect to Venezuela.

Q. And you would like to see Brazil involved on any sort of military option?

President Trump. We haven't even discussed it. We're going to discuss it today.

Former Senator John S. McCain III/Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Q. Mr. President, why are you attacking Senator John McCain 7 months after his death?

President Trump. I'm very unhappy that he didn't repeal and replace Obamacare, as you know. He campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare for years. And then, he got to a vote, and he said, "Thumbs down." And our country would have saved a trillion dollars, and we would have had great health care.

So he campaigned. He told us hours before that he was going to repeal and replace. And then, for some reason—I think I understand the reason—he ended up going thumbs up. And frankly, had we even known that, I think we would have gotten a vote, because we could have gotten somebody else. So I think that's disgraceful. Plus, there are other things.

I was never a fan of John McCain, and I never will be.

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Q. Does Secretary Acosta still have your full support?

The President. Thank you.

Q. What do you say to critics who call you authoritarian? What do you say to people who call you both authoritarian?

President Trump. Thank you very much.

Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta

Q. Mr. President, does Secretary Alex Acosta still have your full support?

President Trump. He does.

Q. Was that a yes, Mr. President?

President Trump. He does. He has my full support.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:10 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Jair Messias Bolsonaro of Brazil and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives