MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday urged U.S. Latinos not to vote in November’s midterm elections for politicians who have “mistreated” them, in response to a comment by former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trump boasted at a rally in Ohio over the weekend that while in office, he had forced López Obrador to deploy 28,000 soldiers along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out migrants after threatening to slap tariffs on Mexican goods.
Asked about Trump’s comments, López Obrador said no U.S. political party should “use Mexico as a piñata” and that those with the right to vote should exercise it carefully.
Addressing Americans of Mexican and Latino descent, López Obrador said that “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.”
“When someone goes too far and causes offence, we’ll call them out so that our countrymen help us. Because there are 40 million of us,” López Obrador said. “Don’t forget your origins.”
At 36.6 million, Mexicans made up the largest population of Hispanic origin in the U.S., according to a 2017 Pew Research Center report ahead of the last presidential election.
Trump sparked outrage en route to winning the presidency in 2016 by calling Mexican migrants rapists and drug runners. López Obrador, then in opposition, in 2017 likened Trump’s attitude to migrants to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews.
As president, López Obrador spoke warmly of the American president, and said Monday he “liked Trump even though he is a capitalist” and that his presidency was good for both countries.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, one of the favorites to succeed Lopez Obrador in 2024, rebuffed Trump’s comments.
“What happened yesterday is a man campaigning for the anti-Mexicanism that characterizes him,” Ebrard wrote on Twitter in reference to Trump’s remarks. “In this government, we’re patriots. And we have nothing to be ashamed about.”