Brazil’s Bolsonaro offers US ambassador post to his youngest son
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday said he has offered his son the job of ambassador to the US in a move likely to reignite concerns about nepotism and undue influence in Latin America’s largest nation.
The offer to Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president’s youngest son, to take the top post in Washington comes amid a heated debate in the US about the role and influence of President Donald Trump’s family, particularly his daughter Ivanka.
Ms Trump drew widespread scorn late last month after her prominent appearance at the G20 summit in Osaka alongside her father.
But Mr Bolsonaro said his son would make a good ambassador to the US due to his language skills and his close relationship with the Trump family.
“He is a friend of the children of Donald Trump, speaks English and Spanish and has great global experience. He would be able to convey our message perfectly,” the Brazilian leader told local media.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, who is currently a congressman in Brazil’s lower house — the Chamber of Deputies — has indicated he would resign from his legislative duties if he was appointed to the diplomatic post.
“If it is a mission given by the president, I would accept,” the 35-year-old said on Thursday.
Before then, however, the ambassadorship requires a formal nomination. It would also need to be approved by the foreign affairs committee of Brazil’s Senate, followed by a full vote by the upper house.
The invitation comes amid lingering fears about the influence of Mr Bolsonaro’s family on Brazilian politics and policymaking. But the president defended his choice.
“Imagine if in Brazil you had the son of Mauricio Macri as ambassador of Argentina? Obviously the treatment he would get would be different from a normal ambassador,” Mr Bolsonaro said.
For many, the younger Mr Bolsonaro is already considered a de facto foreign minister and he was applauded for orchestrating a successful state visit by his father to the US in March.
During the visit, Mr Trump heaped praise on the Brazilian, who has been a vocal supporter of the US president. Mr Bolsonaro’s son is also the Latin America leader of The Movement, the populist group spearheaded by US ideologue Steve Bannon.
Within Brazil, two of Jair Bolsonaro’s other sons, Flávio and Carlos, are also considered influential.
Known as the “pit bull”, Carlos co-ordinated his father’s social media strategy while he was running for the presidency last year and is credited with dramatically expanding the then-candidate’s voter base.
He has since emerged as a de facto presidential spokesman and has been relentless in hounding his father’s political rivals.