MEXICO CITY — One of the risks of having a business empire with tentacles encircling the globe is that if you refer to your business partners as drug-runners and rapists, there are plenty of people to get upset.
In a fiesta of indignation, Mexicans have been lopping off presidential candidate Donald J. Trump's tentacles after his comments about the types of people who were crossing America's southern border. One by one, Mexican companies with business relationships with Trump have announced they are washing their hands of him.
Carlos Slim, the world's second-richest man (Trump shuffles in at 405th, according to Forbes), this week canceled a project that one of his companies, Ora TV, was working on with one of Trump's. Slim's son-in-law and spokesman, Arturo Elias, described Trump's comments as "totally out of line" and said that partnering with someone "so closed-minded was not going to work."
Televisa, the world's largest Spanish-language media company, came to the same conclusion this week, announcing that they were done with Trump. Following similar moves by NBC and Univision, Televisa said it would not be broadcasting Trump's Miss Universe pageant, nor would Mexico send a contestant to the beauty contest. Any "commercial relationship with the Miss Universe pageant and with the companies of the Trump organization is unacceptable," the company said in a statement.
“Mr. Trump hasn’t demonstrated understanding or respect towards Mexican migrants and has offended the entire Mexican population,” Televisa said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. “Televisa isn’t indifferent to these declarations and energetically condemns all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia.”
In addition to mega-companies, celebrities have been trumpeting their Trump disapproval. The Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin tweeted that Trump had "much hatred and ignorance in your heart," and planned to move his foundation's golf tournament from one of Trump's courses to another venue. The Salvadoran beauty queen Marisela De Montecristo bowed out of Miss El Salvador 2015 after the Trump remarks.
The comments that got the ball rolling came in a speech earlier this month: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," Trump said. "They're sending people that have lots of problems. ... They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." In follow-ups, Trump reiterated this claim in various ways, and also called for Mexican money to build a "great, great wall" at the border.
The Mexican government has sternly admonished Trump for his comments. Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong referred to them as "prejudicial and absurd." The Mexican government frequently defends itself against such claims, particularly from the anti-immigrant, close-the-border crowds. Last year, Mexico's foreign minister also described as "absurd" then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry's claims that ISIS militants could be sneaking across the border.
This morning, Trump tried, slightly, to smooth over feelings, announcing on Twitter that he "loves the Mexican people."
But there's no love lost down here.