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Trump says he offered Bolsonaro assistance with Amazon rainforest fires

The Hill logo The Hill 8/24/2019 Brett Samuels
Jair Bolsonaro wearing a suit and tie: Trump says he offered Bolsonaro assistance with Amazon rainforest fires © Getty Images Trump says he offered Bolsonaro assistance with Amazon rainforest fires

President Trump on Friday said he offered assistance to Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro if needed to address wildfires that are engulfing parts of the Amazon rainforest.

Trump tweeted that U.S. has "very exciting" trade prospects with Brazil, and that the relationship between the two countries is "perhaps stronger than ever before."

"I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest fires, we stand ready to assist!" Trump tweeted.

Brazil's space research center, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), released data this week showing that wildfires had reached a record high in the country.

The center, which has tracked wildfires since 2013, said that Brazil has experienced more than 74,000 wildfires so far this year, an 84 percent uptick over the same period in 2018.

But Bolsonaro has sent mixed signals about his attitude toward the fires and foreign assistance. He said earlier Friday that other countries should not meddle in the growing crisis, but has also pointed to the size of the Amazon and said Brazil does not "have the resources" to deal with the issue alone.

Trump and Bolsonaro spoke shortly before Trump was set to fly to France for the Group of Seven (G-7) summit. Attendees there are scheduled to discuss climate and biodiversity at a session Monday morning.

French President Emmanuel Macron, the host and agenda-setter for this year's summit, tweeted Thursday that the Amazon fires represented an "international crisis," noting that the Brazilian forests produce 20 percent of the planet's oxygen.

"Members of the G7 Summit, let's discuss this emergency first order in two days!" Macron tweeted.

Trump has previously cast doubt on the influence climate change has had on forest fires. After fires ravaged California last year, the president suggested it was caused by poor forest management.

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