U.S. Republican lawmakers are cheering on Argentina’s newly elected president, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” who they say is an “existential threat to progressives.”
Javier Milei has been compared to former President Donald Trump for his bombastic manner. He promised to cut Argentina’s government spending by 15% and replace the country’s currency with the US dollar, among other reforms.
Right-wing US officials were quick to hail his victory on Sunday. Elected Democrats were largely silent, however.
“Here’s the most powerful reason why American progressives hate Javier Milei: If Argentina can elect a government with a mandate to control and bring down the government, so can we,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, after the victory. “It works there. And then here. That, my friends, is an existential threat to progressives.”
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Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., praised him, “Congratulations to President-elect [Milei]. Hopefully, this will be the first of many victories for freedom and democracy against socialism in Latin America.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, called Milei’s victory “decisive” and said, “I look forward to a good new chapter for this bilateral relationship in addressing widespread corruption.” , Chinese encroachment, and other shared priorities together.”
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Trump also congratulated him on his TruthSocial page, “Congratulations to Javier Milei on a good race for President of Argentina.”
“The whole world is watching! I am so proud of you. You will bring your Country back and truly Make Argentina Great Again!” Trump wrote.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., also extended good wishes.
Milei, a libertarian economist, campaigned on a platform that pushed for smaller government to achieve economic success. He appeared in public holding a chainsaw as a symbol of his desire to cut spending.
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Argentina, the second largest economy in South America, is currently in the middle of a crippling economic crisis. Inflation in the month of October exceeded 140% there.
In addition to calling for a drastic overhaul of Argentina’s government, including the abolition of the Central Bank, Milei is also a climate change skeptic and calls for abortion to be banned.
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A clip of Milei’s interview, which was widely shared on social media and became a symbol of her campaign, reportedly translated her as saying, “You don’t give s— leftards an inch… If you’re different think, they will kill you.”
Congratulatory messages from a Democratic official included US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“We congratulate [Milei] upon his election as President of Argentina. We look forward to continued bilateral cooperation based on shared values and interests,” Blinken said in a statement.