Mexican president: ‘I don’t have an opinion’ on border wall

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday he has no opinion on construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico.

López Obrador told reporters at his daily press conference that border wall construction — a key component of President Trump’s hardline immigration policy — is not an issue for Mexico because it wasn’t discussed last week during his visit to the White House.

“Well, I don’t have an opinion because it’s a topic that wasn’t discussed — it’s not on our agenda,” said López Obrador.

The president was severely criticized at home and among Mexican Americans after his trip to Washington, where he was laser-focused on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade and seemed to go out of his way to laud Trump’s treatment of Mexicans in the United States.

López Obrador said Monday that he maintains cordial relations with Trump to avoid any confrontation with the U.S. government.

“I want to maintain a friendly relationship with the United States government because I think it’s convenient for Mexicans. My adversaries wanted something else — they wanted a fight and it wasn’t so. We need to have a cooperative and friendly relationship with the U.S. government,” said López Obrador.

Before taking office in December 2018, López Obrador had been one of Trump’s harshest critics in Mexico, even writing a book called “Listen, Trump” while on the campaign trail.

“The wall and the demagoguery of patriotism are no match for the dignity and humanity of the American people,” López Obrador wrote in the book.

But that criticism has waned, particularly as the coronavirus recession has ravaged Mexico’s economy.

López Obrador hailed his Washington visit as a triumph because Trump “spoke of 36 million Mexicans in the United States.”

López Obrador later acknowledged that he does not support the wall, but refused to discuss his opposition and instead blamed Republicans and Democrats for its construction.

“I’m not going to confront [Trump] on that issue that we don’t even want to mention. I only remember that every U.S. government has insisted on that issue, whether it’s one party or the other,” López Obrador said. “And we don’t agree with that issue — we don’t address it, we’re thankful it wasn’t addressed, that issue or others, and that the visit was focused on the free trade agreement that we care about very much.”

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