MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday urged Latinos in the United States not to vote in November’s midterm elections for politicians who have “mistreated” them, in response to a comment by former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trump boasted at a rally in Ohio at the weekend that while in office, he had forced Lopez Obrador to deploy 28,000 soldiers along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out migrants after threatening to slap tariffs on Mexican goods.
Asked about Trump’s comments, Lopez Obrador said no U.S. political party should “use Mexico as a pinata” and that those with the right to vote should exercise it carefully.
He told Americans of Mexican and Latino descent that “if Mexico or some country in Latin America and the Caribbean is mistreated, do not vote for those parties and for those candidates whether they are from the Democratic or Republican party.”
“When someone goes too far and causes offence, we’ll call them out so that our countrymen help us. Because there are 40 million of us,” Lopez Obrador told a news conference. “Don’t forget your origins.”
At 36.6 million, Mexicans made up the largest population of Hispanic origin in the United States in 2017, a Pew Research Center report found ahead of the last presidential election.
Trump sparked outrage en route to winning the presidency in 2016 by calling Mexican migrants rapists and drug runners. Lopez Obrador, then in opposition, in 2017 likened Trump’s attitude to migrants to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews.
As president, Lopez Obrador spoke warmly of the American president, and said Monday he “liked Trump even though he is a capitalist” and that his presidency was good for both countries.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, one of the favorites to succeed Lopez Obrador in 2024, rebuffed Trump’s comments.
“What happened yesterday is a man campaigning for the anti-Mexicanism that characterizes him,” Ebrard wrote on Twitter in reference to Trump’s remarks. “In this government, we’re patriots. And we have nothing to be ashamed about.”
Republicans are favorites to win control https://www.reuters.com/world/us/exclusive-trump-weighs-how-deeply-dig-into-his-war-chest-november-elections-2022-04-25 of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate in the elections amid frustration with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden.
(Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Alistair Bell)