White House

Steve Bannon flexes influence during Brazilian president visit with Trump

Steve Bannon, the former Trump White House adviser and conservative hardliner, will be a special guest of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for dinner on Monday, the eve of the far-right leader’s meeting with President Trump at the White House.

Bannon, who Bolsonaro’s team has sought out for political guidance, will be among a group of conservative guests joining Bolsonaro at his table for the exclusive event at the Brazilian ambassador’s residence, two sources familiar with the meeting said.

“Some of the Bolsonaro team on the right see themselves as disciples of the Bannon movement and representatives of Bannon for Brazil and Latin America,” said Fernando Cutz, a former acting senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council in the Trump administration.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, will be in Washington next week where he will stay at the Blair House across from the White House and meet with Trump in the Oval Office where discussions will include trade, transnational crime and restoring democracy in Venezuela.

McClatchy has learned the two leaders are also expected to hold a press conference in the Rose Garden Tuesday afternoon.

The controversial far-right leader, who is expected to shake up geopolitical order in the hemisphere, has been dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics.”

Bolsonaro has made no secret of his desire to establish close ties with the United States. White House National Security Advisor John Bolton and other Trump officials have described Bolsonaro as a “like-minded” leader and raised the possibility of a free trade agreement between the two nations.

Trump fired Bannon, his chief strategist during the campaign, in 2017. Since then, Bannon has taken his fight against globalism to Europe and Latin America.

During his own campaign, Bolsonaro imitated Trump’s slogan championed by Bannon, “America first” and promised to put “Brazil first.”

In addition to Bannon, other guests of the dinner are expected to include investor Gerald Brant, Roger Kimball, editor of the conservative New Criterion, U.S.-based Brazilian writer Olavo de Carvalho, according to Brazilian news reports.

Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a Brazilian congressman who some liken to playing a role similar to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner at the White House, has boasted of sharing the same worldview as Bannon and spoken of teaming up together to fight “cultural Marxism.”

Last month, Bannon announced that Eduardo Bolsonaro would represent South America in The Movement, which is Bannon’s consortium of international leaders “who support populist nationalism and reject the influence of globalism.”

“We will work with him to reclaim sovereignty from progressive globalist elitist forces and expand common sense nationalism for all citizens of Latin America,” Eduardo Bolsonaro said about Bannon in a statement at the time.

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