Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) responded to a threat by Donald Trump over new tariffs on Mexican goods with a letter focused on concepts Trump can’t possibly understand: dignity, fairness, compassion, and principles.
AMLO sent Trump the letter on Thursday after Trump announced he would slap a 5% tariff on goods imported from Mexico starting June 10 if Mexico didn’t stop undocumented migrants from entering the U.S. through the countries’ shared border. Trump said he would raise those tariffs, which would hurt U.S. consumers and businesses, by 5% each month until October.
In response, AMLO said he hopes to avoid a confrontation, preferring instead dialogue, prudence, and responsibility. He cited various examples of constructive relations between U.S. and Mexican presidents, a history lesson that also will go over Trump’s head unless someone explains it to him.
Mexico’s president described the causes of migration and offered rational solutions to help improve the plight of those forced by poverty and violence to leave their homes.
“Human beings don’t abandon their villages because they want to, but rather because they have to,” AMLO wrote. “That’s why from the start of my government I proposed cooperation to foster development and to assist Central American countries with productive investment to create jobs and address the core issue of this painful matter.”
AMLO said his administration is focused on fighting corruption to create the conditions needed so that people wouldn’t have to migrate.
“President Trump: Social problems aren’t resolved with tariffs or coercive measures,” he wrote, adding that, “the Statue of Liberty is more than an empty symbol.”
He also took a swipe at Trump’s “America First” mantra.
“With all due respect, while you have the right to express it, the slogan ‘America First’ is a fallacy, because to the end of time, and even over national borders, justice and universal fraternity will prevail.”
The Mexican president called on Trump to seek dialogue and alternative solutions to the immigration issue. “I don’t lack courage [and] I’m not a coward,” AMLO wrote. “I don’t believe in the law of retaliation, in ‘a tooth for a tooth’ or in ‘an eye for an eye’….”
The letter generated a considerable amount of positive reaction on social media in Mexico.
“Dignified and elegant,” wrote one Twitter user. “It’s an honor to have a president like Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who in his letter went to the heart of the issue and offered peaceful solutions for the well-being of all Central Americans,” wrote another.
Trump, however, wasn’t fazed (if he even read the letter, or had it read to him). The following day, he bashed Mexico again on Twitter, claiming the country had “taken advantage of” the U.S. “for decades.”
He scolded Mexico for its “drug lords and cartels,” and he called undocumented migrants “illegals.”
And something about a million people “ruined”:
As of this writing, Trump hasn’t tweeted about Mexico on Saturday, although that may be because he’s busy golfing.
Update, Saturday, 5:04 p.m. ET: Golf must be over, because Trump is back to tweeting about Mexico, “Drugs & Human Trafficking,” and “Drug Lords, Cartels & Coyotes.”