Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has demanded that French President Emmanuel Macron apologize before he will accept international aid offered to help fight the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest. Macron announced on Monday that the Group of Seven leaders, gathered in France, would pledge $20 million in aid to Brazil (in addition to $12 million from Britain and $11 million from Canada). Bolsonaro spurned the offer, and his chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, suggested that Macron’s true objective was “colonialism and imperialism.” The far-right Brazilian president took the snub a step further on Tuesday, accusing Macron of questioning Brazil’s sovereignty and stating that the French president has to retract comments before they can speak.
Bolsonaro is likely referring to comments Macron made reiterating international concern over Brazil’s slow response to the fires. “I have great respect for the Brazilian people and can only hope they soon have a president who is up to the job,” Macron said. The French leader said Tuesday that Bolsonaro’s interpretation is a “mistake.” President Trump showed support for Bolsonaro on Tuesday, tweeting that “he is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil.”