President López Obrador is set to visit Trump in early July

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico proposed the upcoming meeting

President López Obrador is set to visit Trump in early July
The Mexican President and Donald Trump have a friendly relationship - Photo: Carlos Mejía/EL UNIVERSAL
English 01/07/2020 11:09 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Pedro Villa y Caña, Alberto Morales, Ariadna García, AP Actualizada 11:09

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On June 24, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he plans to travel to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump in early July and added that he hopes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also present at the meeting.

López Obrador said he wants to visit Trump in the first week of July to mark the start of the new USMCA free trade agreement. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico proposed the upcoming meeting and said the exact date would be revealed soon.

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 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 that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will visit U.S. President Donald Trump on July 8 and 9 in his first trip abroad as Mexico's President.

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

The two leaders have displayed surprisingly cordial relations despite ideological differences. Trump said of López Obrador on Tuesday: “He’s really a great guy. I think he’ll be coming into Washington pretty soon.” 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. He said he hopes Canada will participate in the meeting as well, “but at any rate, we will go because it is very important to participate at the launch of an agreement that I consider historic.”

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.