French president Emmanuel Macron blasted ‘extraordinarily rude’ Brazil leader Jair Bolsonaro today for insulting his wife as their feud over the Amazon fires got personal.
Bolsonaro endorsed a sexist Facebook post about France’s 66-year-old first lady Brigitte Macron, the latest chapter in an escalating war of words between him and his French counterpart.
Macron, 41, had called for emergency talks by G7 nations on the fires destroying chunks of the Amazon rainforest, piling pressure on Bolsonaro, who in turn accused him of having a ‘colonialist mentality’.
A Bolsonaro supporter yesterday posted a meme mocking the appearance of Macron and compared her unfavorably with Brazil’s 37-year-old first lady Michelle Bolsonaro.
It had the tagline: ‘Now you understand why Macron is persecuting Bolsonaro?’
The right wing Brazilian leader who is called the “Trump of the Tropics”, 64, replied: ‘Do not humiliate the guy, ha ha,’ referring to Macron.
When asked about the post at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, today, Macron said that ‘Brazilian women are probably feeling ashamed of their president.’
The dispute comes as Macron announced the G7 counties would release $22 million to help fight the raging fires in the Amazon.
Asked whether the response on social media came from Bolsonaro himself, a spokesman for Brazil’s presidential palace refused to comment.
But the French president hit back today, saying: “He said very disrespectful things about my wife, I have great respect for the Brazilian people and can only hope they soon have a president who is up to the job.”
He said Bolsonaro’s comments were ‘extraordinarily rude’, adding: ‘What can I say? It’s sad. It’s sad for him firstly, and for Brazilians. I think that Brazilians, who are a great people, will probably be ashamed to see this behavior. And as I feel friendship and respect towards the Brazilian people, I hope that they will very soon have a president who behaves in the right way.’
Bolsonaro later hit back with a thread of tweets and said Macron’s ‘improper and wanton attacks on the Amazon’ were ‘unreasonable.’
He also said: ‘Other heads of state sympathized with Brazil, after all respect for the sovereignty of any country is the least that can be expected in a civilized world.’
The fires across the world’s largest rainforest, which experts have blamed on rampant deforestation, have triggered a global outcry.
European nations have lead the charge against Bolsonaro, who has made no secret, like Trump, of his skepticism about climate change.
Brazil was angered after Macron, in the run up to the G7 summit, tweeted a photo of the burning Amazon forest, writing: ‘Our house is burning. Literally.’
Macron said he had been lied to by Bolsonaro over his commitments to fighting climate change.