Trump and Mexican President-elect López Obrador discuss “development deal”

3 July 2018

Trump and Mexican President-elect López Obrador discuss “development deal”

Outspoken left-wing President-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, promised to “reach an understanding” with US President Donald Trump in a half-hour telephone conversation on Monday.

Mr López Obrador has been critical of President Trump’s family separation policy, describing it as arrogant, racist, and inhumane, and calling the United States’ immigration policy an “erratic hate campaign” on Latin American migrants.

But within hours of securing victory, Mr López Obrador tweeted that he had received a call from Donald Trump.

“I proposed that we explore an integral agreement of development projects, which generate jobs in Mexico, and with that, reduce migration and improve security. There was respectful treatment, and our representatives will speak more.”

Both leaders have indicated a willingness to cooperate on border security.

“We are conscious of the need to maintain good relations with the United States,” Mr López Obrador said in an interview with the Televisa news network.

“We have a border of more than 3,000 kilometres, and more than 12 million Mexicans live in the United States. It is our main economic-commercial partner. We are not going to fight. We are always going to seek for there to be an agreement. … We are going to extend our frank hand to seek a relation of friendship, I repeat, of cooperation with the United States.”

President Trump echoed these sentiments, telling reporters that he thinks Mr López Obrador will “try and help us with the border.”

“I think the relationship will be a very good one. We talked about trade, we talked about [the North American Free Trade Agreement], we talked about a separate deal, just Mexico and the United States.”

Despite being from opposite ends of the political spectrum, commentators have identified similarities between the leaders.

Like President Trump, Mr López Obrador positioned himself as a political outsider, and capitalised on public frustration at escalating crime rates and corruption, promising to drain Mexico’s own swamp.

Mr López Obrador will be sworn-in in December this year.