Mexican president responds to Trump’s attacks: ‘I will not allow them to use Mexico as a piñata’

The former US leader boasted at a campaign rally that while in office he had forced Andrés Manuel López Obrador to deploy 28,000 soldiers along the border

AMLO Trump
Donald Trump (r) and Andrés Manuel López Obrador outside the White House in 2020.Kevin Lamarque (REUTERS)
Elena Reina

Donald Trump may no longer be the president of the United States, but he is still attacking Mexico. At a campaign rally in the state of Ohio on Saturday, he claimed that he forced Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to deploy 28,000 soldiers along the US-Mexico border after threatening to put tariffs on Mexican goods.

During the rally, Trump recounted his version of meeting López Obrador in June 2019. He claimed that the Mexican leader laughed at him when he demanded the troop deployment for “free” and the controversial “Stay in Mexico” immigration program. This policy, which was signed by Mexico that year, forced people seeking asylum in the US to wait in Mexico for their US immigration court hearings, a process that could sometimes take years.

According to Trump, “[López Obrador] said, ‘We would never even consider doing that and I’m ordering you to stop asking for it.’ I said, ‘I’m the president of the United States, you can no longer order me.’”

In Trump’s version of events, the Mexican leader did a U-turn when threatened with taxes. The former US president said he told López Obrador: “It’s now Friday afternoon at 1pm and on Monday morning at 8am, I’m putting on a 25% tariff [on Mexican goods].”

“And he looked at me and said, ‘sir, it would be an honor to have 28,000 soldiers on the border. It would be an order to have Stay in frigging Mexico. We want to have Stay in Mexico.” As the crowd at the rally cheered, Trump added: “I’ve never seen anybody fold like that.”

The Mexican president has dismissed the comments as a bid to win votes ahead of the US midterm elections in November. “Mexico is being talked about more in the United States and it is important that we Mexicans know why. This year, there are going to be elections in the United States and both parties are trying to put Mexico in their topics of debate, “said López Obrador, who warned that he would not allow the country to be used for political point-scoring. “We are not going to allow any party, or any candidate, to use Mexico as a piñata,” he said.

The president has also sent a message to the millions of Mexicans who live and vote in the US. “If Mexico or some country in Latin America and the Caribbean is mistreated, do not vote for those parties and for those candidates whether they are from the Democratic or Republican party,” he told a press conference on Monday. “Don’t forget your origins.”

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