Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador travels to Washington on Tuesday for his first foreign trip as president to meet with President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly taken shots at Mexico and Mexican migrants to rally his base. The tour, which comes just four months prior to U.S. elections, has many Mexicans weeping. Trump has insulted them, threatened crippling tariffs to fortify Mexico to play an uncomfortable role in U.S. immigration policy, and insisted on paying for a border wall meant to keep migrants out of the United States.
All leaders are talking about a blossoming relationship that seems to come from their promotion of unpologetically nationalistic agendas. As he reels off U.S. economic figures – the scale of the U.S. pandemic stimulus plan, the amount of jobs the U.S. received back in June — López Obrador points to the true reason for the trip.
The encounter will draw attention to a trade accord replacing one Trump said was a bad deal and will allow the president to bash former Vice President Joe Biden for voting in favor of the old North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump could stir his base with sharp words for Mexico or simply play up López Obrador’s desire to express his gratitude. From López Obrador’s perspective, a good relationship with whoever occupies the White House is Mexico’s best policy.