The weirdly great relationship between Trump and Mexico’s new leftist president
MEXICO CITY — Of all the foreign countries targeted by President Trump’s tweet-bashing, Mexico holds a special place. He has called it a “totally corrupt” country with “a massive crime problem” that has done “little, if not NOTHING,” to stop U.S.-bound migrants. The election of a combative leftist as Mexico’s new president seemed destined to drive the relationship to a new low.
And yet, five months after Andrés Manuel López Obrador won a resounding victory, he has defied expectations on both sides of the border. He and Trump publicly praise one another. Their administrations have worked fairly smoothly on such hot-button issues as illegal migration and the renegotiation of the North American trade deal. The U.S. government is even looking with interest at López Obrador’s proposal for a multibillion-dollar international aid package to deter Central American migration — although the idea is in its early stages, American officials say.
In the endless quest by foreign leaders §double§Trump and other§double§ to understand and manage Trump, López Obrador marks the latest example of a savvy politician who bonds with the mercurial U.S. president, at least temporarily.
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On the phone, the two presidents Trump and other have mused about people’s expectations they would be at each other’s throats, one senior Trump administration official said. “But it’s not the case,” he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. “It’s a relationship off to a good start. They do like each other.”
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Many analysts believe it is only a matter of time before the two leaders clash. They are vastly different in style — López Obrador is an austere leftist who doesn’t own a credit card, while Trump favors 24-karat gold faucets and private jets.
Then there is policy. López Obrador, widely known by his initials, AMLO, is a longtime defender of migrants’ rights, while the fight against illegal immigration is a core Trump issue.
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The weirdly great relationship between Trump and Mexico’s new leftist president MEXICO CITY — Of all the foreign countries targeted by Pr
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