President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE congratulated newly-inaugurated Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele, saying he was ready to work with him to advance prosperity in Latin America.
“The United States stands ready to work with @NayibBukele to advance prosperity in El Salvador and the hemisphere. Congratulations President Bukele on your inauguration!” Trump tweeted. Bukele retweeted the message shortly after.
The United States stands ready to work with @NayibBukele to advance prosperity in El Salvador and the hemisphere. Congratulations President Bukele on your inauguration!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2019
Bukele, a 37-year-old political outsider officially sworn into office Saturday, has vowed to prioritize bolstering El Salvador’s relationship with Washington, bolster education and social programs to curb gang violence in the country and, in a move likely to please the White House, veer away from the left-wing foreign policy alliances of his predecessor.
Trump has hammered El Salvador, as well as Guatemala and Honduras, for what he says is a failure to prevent Central American migrants from traveling north and entering the U.S. illegally. The president in March directed the State Department to halt aid to the so-called Northern Triangle countries.
“We were paying them tremendous amounts of money. And we're not paying them anymore. Because they haven't done a thing for us. They set up these caravans,” Trump told reporters in March.
Democrats slammed the move as counter-productive, saying that aid to those countries benefited the U.S.
“U.S. foreign assistance is not charity; it advances our strategic interests and funds initiatives that protect American citizens. This latest reported move shows the Administration still does not understand that the United States cuts foreign aid to Central America at our own peril,” Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden, don't punish India Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict MORE (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said at the time.
Immigration has emerged as an animating issue for both parties, with Republicans falling behind Trump’s hardline policies to curtail legal and illegal border crossings and Democrats saying any crisis is manufactured by the White House and that support to Latin America should not be reduced in retaliation.