Donald Trump is in the process of making peace with the business people he alienated with his cutting, aggressive rhetoric during the presidential campaign. Among his most high-profile targets was Mexican businessman Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world thanks to his telecommunications empire. The president-elect held a private dinner with the Mexican mogul on Saturday at his exclusive golf club, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, reports The Washington Post. The dinner is seen as a friendly gesture toward Mexico, a country he has repeatedly demonized over the last year.
Striking a very different tone from that used during the campaign trail when the then-Republican candidate accused the Mexican magnate of conspiring against him over several sexual assault allegations, Trump told The Washington Post the meeting was “a lovely dinner with a wonderful man.”
Trump said Slim was a key figure in a conspiracy that included journalists, powerful global financiers and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, accusing reporters at the The New York Times, saying: “Reporters of the New York Times, they’re not journalists, they’re corporate lobbyists for Carlos Slim and for Hillary Clinton.”
Slim is currently the fourth-richest man in the world with a fortune estimated at $50 billion
In turn, Slim criticized Trump during the US election campaign over the candidate’s stance on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Mexico. He said that the 35% tariff on Mexican exports Trump proposed would “destroy” the US economy. The Mexican mogul joked he did not believe the Republican candidate would follow through on his threats, saying: “As we say in Mexico, being a drunk is not the same as being a bartender.”
Slim has since softened his position in the wake of Trump’s win on November 8 and has praised some of the president-elect’s proposed economic policies. “The United States will do well with the new president, and if the economy grows by 4%, if he lowers taxes on the middle class, invests in infrastructure and creates 25 million jobs, that would be fantastic for Mexico, too,” he said at a Bloomberg forum two weeks ago.
Trump accused Slim of conspiring against him during the campaign
Top of the Forbes’ list of billionaires, Slim is currently the fourth-richest man in the world with a fortune estimated at $50 billion. His stock portfolio includes US companies like the editorial group of The New York Times of which he is the majority shareholder. He also donates to the Clinton Foundation.
The Washington Post said the meeting between the US president-elect and the Mexican mogul “signals a possible thawing between Trump and Mexico’s business and political elite.” The New York real estate magnate repeatedly insulted Mexican immigrants and his promise to build a wall along the US-Mexican border was a cornerstone of his campaign platform.
English version by Dyane Jean-François.