Why Mexico’s chairman is buddies v Trump regardless of years of insults

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a lifelong populist and face the Mexico’s left, actually has actually a lot of in common with Trump.


Mexican chairman Andrés Manuel López Obrador has actually repeatedly stated his partnership with president Donald trump card is based on mutual respect. | Hector Vivas/Getty Images

President Donald Trump because that years has insulted Mexicans with his guarantees to develop a border wall surface to keep out migrants, criminals, medicine and, many recently, the coronavirus. But that’s not preventing Mexican chairman Andrés Manuel López Obrador native heading to the White home for his very first face-to-face meeting through Trump on Wednesday.

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López Obrador, a lifelong populist and face the Mexico’s left, actually has actually a lot in usual with Trump. They’ve developed a relationship based upon their respect because that each other"s nationalist, authoritarian tendencies and also their capability to continue to be out of each other"s means on residential issues.

On Wednesday, their unlikely alliance will certainly be on full display as castle celebrate the July 1 start of the new North American profession pact. The meeting provides López Obrador a possibility to pitch Mexico as a stable atmosphere for U.S. Investment regardless of its struggling economy. And it offers Trump a chance to display he has Mexico’s leader on his side going into his reelection bid even after every the insults and threats. Plus, he gets to remind his base of the concessions he’s obtained from López Obrador to avoid asylum seekers from crossing the mexican border into the U.S.

But your meeting, i m sorry marks López Obrador’s an initial trip abroad due to the fact that becoming chairman of Mexico in December 2018, has actually been the target of prevalent criticism in Mexico and among Democrats because of a perception the it benefits Trump politically and its timing as coronavirus situations continue to increase alarmingly in both countries. Democrats are an especially annoyed that López Obrador has not scheduled any type of meetings with them while he’s in Washington.

For Trump, “Mexico is a politics prop. He offers Mexico and Mexicans together a punching bag and I don’t check out why the won’t proceed to execute that for the next 4 months,” said note Feierstein, who served as the Obama administration’s top national security adviser on Latin America. López Obrador has actually sent the signal to Trump the “you deserve to bully Mexico, you have the right to threaten Mexico, you can contact Mexicans rapists and the mexico president will be happy to obtain on a aircraft to fulfill with you anyway.”

Trump has actually referred to López Obrador as a leader “who i like and also respect, and has functioned so well v us.” The mexico leader has repeatedly said his connection with trump card is based upon mutual respect and recently has been thanking trumped for sending out ventilators to Mexico throughout the pandemic.

Their friendship is every the more surprising since López Obrador, a previous Mexico City mayor, ran ~ above a communication to protect and demand respect because that Mexicans, and also focus on domestic worries like corruption and also crime — both that which have actually not decreased in his 19 months in office. López Obrador, well-known by his initials as AMLO, was previously so an important of Trump the he went so far as to compare the U.S. President’s offensive comments about Mexicans to the method Nazis talked about Jews in his 2017 publication called "Oye, Trump" ("Listen Up, Trump").

But critical year, Trump succeeded in making use of the danger of tariffs come ensure Mexico would deploy its nationwide Guard, which was produced to struggle crime and also restore publicly safety, along Mexico’s southerly border to stop main American migrants native traveling north to seek asylum in the unified States. López Obrador additionally agreed to allow asylum-seekers to continue to be in Mexico while castle wait for their court hearings in the U.S.

Now, doubters say López Obrador’s trip is simply the latest sign of the Mexican federal government being nonconfrontational in the hope that it will advantage Mexico by appeasing its powerful northern neighbor. That a similar approach to the of his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto, a moderate facility politician whose already low popularity take it a hit when he welcomed then-candidate Trump come Mexico in 2016.

“Just together Mr. Peña Nieto did, that is betting that he will advantage if he help Mr. Trump victory the Latino vote. Yet as unjustifiable that was back in 2016, the is additionally offensive and foolish in 2020, as soon as the entire world has seen and suffered Mr. Trump’s outbursts,” Enrique Krauze, a influential Mexican historian, created in a new York times op-ed ~ above Sunday.


The U.S.-Mexico relationship is “based ~ above friendship and also it’s likewise an indispensable commercial and also economic relationship, so that’s why the pilgrimage to the joined States,” López Obrador stated late critical month when he announced the visit.

The conference is part of the two leaders’ “continued partnership on trade, health, and also other issues central to regional prosperity and security” and also will recognize the USMCA and “their shared initiative to ensure north America proceeds strengthening its financial ties while working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” the White home press secretary said in a statement.

But Canadian prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office announced he will certainly not be attending the meeting, elevating concerns amongst Democrats that it will serve Trump’s political aims four months prior to the election.

“What’s the urgency of coming now? Why no Prime Minister Trudeau participating in this meeting? and why no the meeting take place before take it effect?” Rep. Chuy García, that represents among Chicago’s biggest Mexican immigrant communities and also is a mexican immigrant, said gendergeek.org.

“It’s puzzling to Mexican leaders in Mexico and also here to think that somehow this pilgrimage would be useful to Mexico or AMLO since of the way Trump has actually to manipulate the visit and to manipulate it come extract mexico American and also Latino votes through this visit. It’s what a many folks find repulsive,” García added.

Last week, an ext than a dozen members the the Congressional hispanic Caucus urged Trump to cancel the meeting, calling the “nothing an ext than an effort to odor from the coronavirus crisis and also your fail to lead an adequate solution to the pandemic.”

Still, U.S. Service leaders are confident López Obrador will usage the trip to show that Mexico wants U.S. Investment and will sell a better environment for it. The mexican leader has alarmed investors global with his moves to abruptly cancel major projects, prefer a partly developed airport and also brewery, whereby billions the dollars had currently been spent.

“After 18 months of uneven decision make by the Mexican government that has actually shaken investor confidence, the visit marks a pivotal possibility for AMLO to ensure U.S. Stakeholders the Mexico is committed to upholding the USMCA obligations and also to ensure a sound predictable investment setting moving forward,” said Neil Herrington, the U.S. Room of Commerce’s senior vice president because that the Americas.


The Oval Office sit-down poses a risk for both leaders, neither of who has taken on wearing face masks and who recently have actually resumed traveling across their respective nations for events. The mexican leader is also coming top top a commercial flight with layovers to Washington, raising additional health concerns.

Coronavirus situations in the U.S. Space still spiking as the nation has seen more than 130,000 deaths and also 3 million shown infections. Mexico is additionally in bad shape as the nation with the fifth-highest variety of deaths — an ext than 31,000 — as result of the coronavirus and more than 250,000 confirmed cases, numbers widely thought to be underreported.

Their willingness to accomplish in the middle of a pandemic is a reminder of your similarities, even if they recognize with different sides that the politics spectrum.

Both leaders maintain a contentious relationship through the media. López Obrador has railed against major outlets like Mexican newspaper Reforma because that what he says is unfair or fake report in a similar manner as Trump.

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López Obrador has frequently repeated his approach that “the ideal foreign plan is domestic policy,” together he tries to steer clear from getting involved on the world stage. That’s made it all the more surprising that his first trip overseas is come the joined States. Yet López Obrador’s nationalist attitude and also focus on domestic issues is no unfamiliar in the united States, as Trump, too, has pressed because that an America first agenda transparent his presidency.

“I think they genuinely desire each various other as president since neither one cares around the other,” claimed Jorge Guajardo, a previous Mexican ambassador come China and an elderly director at McLarty Associates. “Trump doesn’t want to get associated in Mexico and López Obrador doesn’t want to get involved with the joined States. The less they have to talk about each other, the better.”