Trump has toned down rhetoric against Mexicans, AMLO says

Daniel Cancel

U.S. President Donald Trump has moderated his comments against Mexicans in the past few years and is intent on building respectful bilateral relations, according to Mexican leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“He’s toned it down,” Lopez Obrador, also known as AMLO, said in an interview on Monday in Mexico City with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. “It’s notable.”

In this April 9, 2019 file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a signing ceremony in an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the National Palace in Mexico City.

After accusing some Mexican migrants of fomenting violence, drug trafficking and even being “rapists” in the run up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Trump has focused his ire around immigration and border issues more around Mexico’s efforts to slow (or not) the flow of people, particularly from Central American countries.

AMLO attributed a lot of the hostile rhetoric to domestic politics and posturing as part of the U.S. presidential campaign which is heating up ahead of elections in Nov. 2020 and said that so far he’s been able to find common ground with his unpredictable northern neighbor.

“So far, we haven’t disrespected each other,” he said.

Citing historic bilateral relations dating back to times of personal heroes like Benito Juarez, Lazaro Cardenas and Abraham Lincoln, he said he can work things out with Trump. The recent threats to slap tariffs on Mexico if the government didn’t improve policing along the border was the latest standoff.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a conference in Washington early Monday that Mexico still needs to do more on the border.

“We’ve talked three or four times by phone and we’ve understood each other,” AMLO said about Trump. “Even though President Trump is a Republican and I have a more progressive platform with a social, nationalistic dimension, I think we can understand each other.”

To be sure, AMLO, who during an interview in 2017 blasted Trump’s “campaign of hatred,” has also moderated his tone.