Mexican President tests negative for COVID-19 ahead of his trip to the U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said López Obrador is a great guy and his friend

Mexican President tests negative for COVID-19 ahead of his trip to the U.S.
The Mexican President refuses to wear a mask amid the pandemic - Photo: File photo
English 07/07/2020 11:43 Mexico City Actualizada 11:43

Leer en español

On July 7, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he had tested negative for COVID-19 in advance of his trip to Washington to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“I took the test,” López Obrador said. “I’ve got my certificate.”

President López Obrador said that if the White House asks him to repeat the test upon arrival, he will do so.

During his daily news conference, Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he hadn’t taken the test before because he never had any symptoms. 

For months, the Mexican President has given contradicting messages about the danger of the novel coronavirus. He frequently urges people to be cautious, but rarely wears a face mask himself and has pushed to reactivate the economy.

López Obrador is scheduled to leave for Washington on Tuesday and return on Thursday. He is making his first foreign trip as president to celebrate the start of a new free trade agreement with the United States and Canada, known as the USMCA. 

The Mexican President later announced that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not be attending the meeting but that he said he would visit Mexico soon.

The president is flying commercial to Washington.

On June 24, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced his plans to travel to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump in July hoped Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would also present. 

López Obrador said he wanted to visit Trump to mark the start of the new USMCA free trade agreement. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard later confirmed the date. 

The Mexican President added that one of the goals of the meeting was to thank the U.S. President for agreeing to undertake additional oil production cuts after Mexico refused the proposal made by the OPEC and to thank Trump for helping Mexico acquire ventilators to face the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, Trump is quite unpopular in Mexico because of his racist and discriminatory remarks about Mexican immigrants. Moreover, Mexicans remember former President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ill-starred meeting with Trump that many feel strengthened Trump as a candidate in the 2016 election. 

On June 30, Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would visit U.S. President Donald Trump on July 8 and 9 in his first trip abroad as Mexico's President.

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry then issued a statement saying López Obrador’s administration wants to steer clear of the U.S. elections.

López Obrador & Donald Trump
The two leaders have displayed surprisingly cordial relations despite their ideological differences. Trump has said of López Obrador: “He’s a really great guy. I think he’ll be coming into Washington pretty soon.” On the other hand, López Obrador has called Trump a friend and said his administration has shown respect for Mexico.

Roberto Velasco Álvarez, the Foreign Relations Department’s director of North American affairs, wrote in his Twitter account that “Mexican diplomacy is based on building bridges with all people.”

Though he is famous in Mexico for declining international travel, López Obrador said that he wants to go to Washington.

The president has studiously avoided conflict with Mexico’s much larger neighbor, even after Trump threatened to put crippling tariffs on Mexican goods imported into the U.S. unless Mexico did more to stop Central American migrant caravans.

Trump angered many Mexicans when as a candidate in 2016, he said Mexicans crossing the border brought drugs, crime, and “tremendous infectious disease” to the U.S. At the time, critics said Peña Nieto gave him a pulpit when he invited both U.S. candidates to Mexico City in 2016, but only Trump accepted. After taking office, Trump continued to promise to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it.