US Travel Ban Hurts Bolsonaro Further as Toll Skyrockets

One mayor says Brazil's president wants to be a dictator but is 'too stupid'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2020 4:40 PM CDT
US Travel Ban Hurts Bolsonaro Further as Toll Skyrockets
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro waves to supporters Monday as he leaves the official residence of Alvorada palace, in Brasilia.   (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil has quadrupled this month, to 363,000, making it No. 2 in the world. The nation's COVID-19 death toll neared 23,000 on Monday. President Jair Bolsonaro has had to answer for a travel ban on noncitizens arriving from Brazil this weekend announced by his political hero, President Trump. And the mayor of a city of 2 million demanded Bolsonaro resign, saying the president wants to be a dictator, though "he's too stupid." As the health crisis deepens, the AP reports, Bolsonaro blames everyone else: mayors, governors, a departing health minister and the news media. It's not working. A poll conducted this month found 58% of Brazilians consider Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic bad or terrible, while 21% rated it good or excellent. Approval ratings for governors were much higher.

The travel ban hurts Bolsonaro's argument that his ties to Trump—he's worn a Trump 2020 hat—show he's succeeding, per the Guardian. "Is Bolsonaro going to keep marching around with the American flag now?" an opposition lawmaker asked. The president appeared to play down the humiliating announcement by retweeting an aide's thread saying the ban is like those being enacted all over the world, per Newsweek. One analyst said the message from the US to Brazil is that "even this friendship cannot protect you from being banned if you are passing the 20,000 deaths mark." Adding insult was the mayor of Manaus, who told CNN he can't explain "how a man of such low qualifications came to be president of a country of 210 million." Arthur Virgilio Neto said Bolsonaro, who joins in anti-lockdown rallies, "has complicity in the deaths of corona in Brazil. He is co-responsible." (Read more Jair Bolsonaro stories.)

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