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What If Donald Trump Had Handled The Pandemic A Little More Like Bolsonaro?

October 08, 2020

Donald Trump, it seemed, had decided to go Full Bolsonaro. On Monday, just hours after the U.S. president left the hospital where he’d been treated for COVID-19 following a positive coronavirus test last week, a defiant Trump insisted that he was doing fine and told his countrymen not to let the virus that has killed 210,000 Americans (and counting), and was still presumably marauding through his body, “dominate” their minds.

Three months ago, after his own positive test, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wasted little time in declaring himself fit and healthy, and thus justified in his assertion that COVID-19 was nothing more than the “little flu” he had always claimed it to be. Trump, whom Bolsonaro considers a model for his own presidency, perhaps saw the Brazilian as the example to follow this time: Despite having presided over one of the few COVID-19 outbreaks that rivals the United States’ in its sheer devastation, Bolsonaro is today as popular as he’s ever been. With his own poll numbers plummeting, Trump needed the sort of bailout a coronavirus infection had apparently given his Brazilian friend...

“There’s no question that what has driven Bolsonaro’s rise in the polls is not the fact that he survived COVID, but the fact that the Brazilian state provided ... enough aid to meaningfully change the lives of the poorest members of society,” said Brian Winter, the New York-based editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly and the vice president for policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas...

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