Mexican president praises Trump at White House trade deal celebration

WASHINGTON — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday praised President Trump at the White House as “respectful” and “kind” to our neighbors to the south as the two signed a joint declaration to work together.

Lopez Obrador, a veteran of leftist politics who is often compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, effusively praised Trump in the Rose Garden.

“Thank you, President Trump, for being increasingly respectful to our Mexican fellow man,” he said through a translator. “To you, President Trump, I want to thank you for your understanding and the help you’ve given us in issues related to trade, commerce, oil, as well as your personal support for the acquisition of medical equipment that we needed urgently to treat our patients of COVID-19.”

Lopez Obrador said that he defied criticism and made the trip because he wanted to deliver a message about Trump to US residents.

“You have never sought to impose anything on us violating our sovereignty. Instead of the Monroe Doctrine, you have followed in our case the wise advice of illustrious and prudent George Washington, who said,nations should not take advantage of the unfortunate condition of other people.’

“You have not tried to treat us as a colony. On the contrary, you have honored our condition as an independent nation and that’s why I’m here: to express to the people of the United States that their president has behaved with us with kindness and respect,” the Mexican leader added.

Lopez Obrador did not directly address Trump’s past condemnation of crime linked to Mexican illegal immigrants and his vow to make Mexico pay for his border wall.

Trump also gushed over Lopez Obrador, describing him as a fellow corruption-busting populist.

“Each of us was elected on the pledge to fight corruption and return power to the people, and put the interests of our countries first. And I do that and you do that, Mr. President,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.

Trump compared his relationship with Lopez Obrador to the 19th century bond between Mexican President Benito Juarez and President Abraham Lincoln, who continued to back Juarez’s claim to the presidency after he was deposed in the early 1860s by the French-backed Emperor Maximillian I.

“The tradition of great respect between Mexican and American presidents goes back to the early days of both of our nations, And in particular, it includes President Abraham Lincoln and President Benito Juarez, who each held one another in very very high esteem,” Trump said.

Lopez Obrador visited the Lincoln Memorial and at a DC statute of Juarez before arriving at the West Wing. After meeting in the Oval Office, the leaders signed a joint declaration in the Rose Garden pledging continued good relations between the countries.

The Mexican president, in office since 2018, flew commercial to DC. But on Wednesday evening, Trump, Lopez Obrador and 20 Mexican and US businessmen will dine in the White House East Room to celebrate the enactment of the new US-Mexico-Canada trade pact. Carlos Slim, one of the world’s richest men, is on the guest list, according to Mexico’s foreign ministry.

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