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Trump exchanges a close hug with Argentine President Javier Milei at conservative summit

In World
February 25, 2024

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Javier Milei, the fiery, right-wing populist president of Argentina, gave Donald Trump on Saturday an ecstatic hug a day after meeting with Biden administration officials in Buenos Aires.

Trump and Milei were the biggest speakers to wrap up the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington. During their backstage greeting, captured in a video posted by a Trump campaign staffer, Milei shouted “President!” and pulled Trump in for a close hug before they took pictures together.

Milei took office in December after running a campaign inspired by Trump, complete with red “Make Argentina Great Again” hats in a nod to the former president’s own “Make America Great Again” movement. He was the last of several foreign politicians at CPAC to echo popular Trump themes on issues like migration and the perceived threat of socialism.

In the video, Trump tells Milei, “Make Argentina Great Again.” Milei then uttered his famous phrase, “Long live freedom, damn it!”

The Argentine’s appearance at CPAC came a day after he met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. A top Milei official alleged that Marc Stanley, the U.S. ambassador in Buenos Aires, had suggested that Milei not speak at CPAC.

Milei’s security minister, Patricia Bullrich, who was also attending the gathering south of Washington, said Stanley told Milei’s office that he thought the conference was “very political” and that it was not appropriate for him to participate.

“It was honorable to come,” Bullrich said. “He comes here as a speaker, to give a general speech, not to talk about the election.”

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment Saturday evening.

Milei urged the CPAC crowd to put a stop to socialism and not to endorse more regulation of the economy. He also called abortion access a “murderous agenda” to decrease the size of the population.

“Do not be led by mermaids singing social justice,” he said in Spanish. “Do not give up your freedom. Fight for your freedom because if you do not fight, you will be led into misery.”

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