Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president
Leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) asked President Trump Wednesday to cancel an upcoming meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, saying it would be a distraction from the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Trump, 13 CHC members led by Chairman Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) expressed “concerns and disapproval with the recent announcement that you have invited Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to a meeting at the White House in early July.”
López Obrador is due to visit Washington on July 8-9, his first international trip since being inaugurated as president in December 2018, to celebrate the entry into force of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“While this meeting may appear to be trade related and tied to the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), it is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the coronavirus crisis and your failure to lead an adequate response to the pandemic,” wrote Castro.
He was joined by Democratic Reps. Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), Veronica Escobar (Texas), Jesús García (Ill.), Vicente Gonzalez (Texas), Filemon Vela (Texas), Juan Vargas (Calif.), Sylvia Garcia (Texas), Raúl M. Grijalva (Ariz.), Grace Napolitano (Calif.), Luis Correa (Calif.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), and Tony Cárdenas (Calif.).
“Your decision to hold a meeting when the Congress is not in session, when members of Congress will be in our districts addressing the needs of communities across the United States that have been devastated by this pandemic, is a blatant attempt to politicize the important U.S.-Mexico relationship along partisan lines,” they also wrote.
“We strongly urge you to reconsider and cancel this meeting,” added the members.
The CHC letter also complained that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not expected to attend the ceremony, which was labeled as work visit early Wednesday by Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
Trump and López Obrador, both of whom railed against NAFTA in their election campaigns, have grown closer as their populist styles have converged.
López Obrador, nominally a left-wing politician who’s been criticized for his austerity measures, was also panned by opposition domestically for his plans to visit Trump, who has frequently targeted Mexico and Mexicans for political benefit.
But López Obrador has pushed back on those critics, saying Trump has recently “been more respectful” of Mexico as of late.
The CHC members subtly criticized that the meeting between the two presidents is expected to center only on the trade deal, not on immigration policies that have generated a bottleneck of prospective asylees at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Furthermore, any meeting with the President of Mexico should include an explanation to why the Pentagon is keeping as many as 4,000 troops at the border despite any sign of an actual crisis and a plan for the United States to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols, which have stranded over 60,000 asylum seekers in Mexico, violated international law, and subjected vulnerable women, men, and children to abuse, sex trafficking, kidnapping, and exploitation,” wrote the CHC members.