Former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans congratulated and praised Argentina‘s president-elect, Javier Milei, a libertarian conservative who decisively defeated Economy Minister Sergio Massa of the Peronists on Sunday.
According to Argentina‘s electoral authority, Mr. Milei won 55.7% of the 99.7% votes cast to Mr. Massa‘s 44.3%, the widest margin of victory in a presidential race since the country returned to a democracy in 1983.
Under Mr. Massa, inflation in Argentina skyrocketed to 140% while poverty devastated the country. On the campaign trail, Mr. Milei brought a chainsaw to events and promised to slash the size of the government, dollarize the economy and eliminate the Central Bank.
He also supports loosening up the country’s gun control laws and opposes sex education in schools, feminist ideology and abortion, which Argentina‘s Congress legalized in 2020.
“Congratulations to Javier Milei on a great race for President of Argentina. The whole world was watching! I am very proud of you. You will turn your Country around and truly Make Argentina Great Again!” Mr. Trump posted on his Truth Social platform Sunday night.
“Here’s the most compelling reason why American progressives detest Javier Milei: If Argentina can elect a government with a mandate to restrain and downsize government, so can we,” Sen. Mike Lee of Utah posted as part of a series on X. “It’ll work there. And then here. That, my friends, is an existential threat to progressives.”
He called on U.S. presidential candidates to look to Mr. Milei as a model of how they would shrink government. Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida said she “would love” to see this.
“Following the lead of Javier Milei, I’d like to see U.S. presidential candidates tell us which departments and agencies they’d eliminate,” she said.
During his campaign, Mr. Milei released a series of viral videos displaying his aggressive style of politicking that has many comparing him to Mr. Trump. In one video, he is standing next to a whiteboard and ripping off names of departments within the Argentine government he would eliminate while shouting “out” with each one.
“Congrats to Argentina‘s president-elect,” Sen. Rick Scott of Florida posted on X.
In a post on X above the viral video of Mr. Milei describing which Argentinian governmental ministries he would like to see ousted, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia applauded Mr. Milei for his win before saying, “!! Argentina, God bless you!!”
Rep. Mike Collins of Georgia also congratulated Mr. Milei.
“Hopefully, this will be the first of many wins for freedom and democracy against socialism in Latin America,” Mr. Collins said.
Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida called the presidential election in Argentina a crucial victory for freedom over Mr. Massa‘s Peronism, the long-ruling party, “which has caused so much damage to the country. From the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, I will ensure that the Biden administration treats Mr. Milei with the respect he deserves. Long live freedom!”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded to Mr. Milei‘s win by writing on X, “We look forward to continuing bilateral cooperation based on shared values and interests.”
Drivers in the streets of Buenos Aires celebrated Mr. Milei‘s victory by honking their horns, and many reveled in the win Sunday in several neighborhoods around Argentina.
Outside his party headquarters in a hotel in downtown Buenos Aires, celebrations were complete with singing supporters, beer from vendors and colored smoke bombs.
Argentine flags and the yellow Gadsden flags emblazoned with the words “Don’t Tread On Me,” which Mr Milei‘s movement adopted, flew above the crowd.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.