Mar 20, 2019

Trump meets his tropical twin

Bolsonaro and Trump exchanged soccer jerseys in the Oval Office yesterday. Photo: Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro won with a pro-American campaign that emulated President Trump, and the bromance was consummated yesterday with a White House visit that included a joint news conference.

The big picture: Top administration officials contend the rush to embrace Bolsonaro isn’t all about matching personalities. They say it’s about increasing trade — ideally at China’s expense — and confronting adversaries like Cuba and Venezuela.

What's happening: A senior administration official told reporters that Trump started keeping an eye on Bolsonaro early on after hearing him referred to as the "Trump of the Tropics," Axios World editor David Lawler tells me.

The extent to which Bolsonaro has embraced the right fringe of Trumpworld is interesting, Jonathan Swan points out.

  • Is there another major world leader who would dine with Steve Bannon two nights before meeting Trump?

Be smart ... Bolsonaro’s rhetoric has offended even more people than Trump’s has: He's wildly homophobic and misogynistic.

Go deeper: Jair Bolsonaro dodges questions on his sexist, homophobic history

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.