Argentina's Milei doubles down on Lula criticism as war of words heats

Argentine President Javier Milei visits Germany

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Argentina's right-wing President Javier Milei reiterated criticism of his leftist Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva on Tuesday in an escalation of their recent public clash and ahead of a planned trip to Brazil.

In a post titled "perfectly idiotic dinosaur", Milei defended his previous criticism of Lula as "corrupt", for being a communist, and what he called "interference" in Argentina's 2023 election campaign. In the post Milei does not specify by name who he is referring to as the dinosaur.

Lula said last week that he believes Milei owes him and Brazilians an apology for having said "a lot of stupid things" about Brazil, grains-producing Argentina's top trade partner.

Brazil's presidency office did not comment when asked by Reuters about Milei's most recent attacks. Brazil's Foreign Ministry could not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The war of words comes ahead of a planned trip to Brazil where Milei is set to shun Lula and instead meet his biggest political rival, former right-wing leader Jair Bolsonaro.

Milei's criticisms of other leaders have gotten him into hot waters recently, including a public spat with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Bolivian President Luis Arce.

In his X post on Tuesday, Milei claimed an attempted coup last week in Bolivia was a "fraud", repeating recent comments from his office which led Bolivia's government to summon the Argentine ambassador.

(Reporting by Luana Maria Benedito in Sao Paulo; additional reporting by Ricardo Brito in Brasilia; Editing by Gabriel Araujo)