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Mexico’s next president thinks Trump is ‘erratic and arrogant,’ and a lot else

Andrés Manuel López Obrador shows his ink-stained thumb after voting at a polling station during the presidential election in Mexico City on July 1. (Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters)

Last year, Andrés Manuel López Obrador published a book that criticized the United States’ influence in Mexico and featured parts of speeches he made on a tour of the United States, where he called for migrant rights. He named it “Oye, Trump,” Spanish for “Listen Up, Trump.”

Now he’s going to be Mexico's next president.

The leftist former mayor of Mexico City, who is also known by his initials, AMLO, has repeatedly made clear how he differs with the U.S. president. He has compared President Trump and his inner circle’s comments about Mexicans to the way Nazis talked about Jews. He has called Trump “erratic and arrogant.” In a speech in Los Angeles last year, he said building a wall and using language to “insult, denigrate and discriminate” against certain populations “goes against humanity, it goes against intelligence and against history.”

All of Mexico's candidates jabbed at Trump throughout their campaigns, but it was domestic issues, including corruption and violence, that took precedence in Sunday’s election.

Still, as Mexico’s incoming president, López Obrador will have to deal directly with the Trump administration. During a debate in May, López Obrador said he wants a “friendly relationship with the government of the United States, but not one of subordination.”

So far Trump seems ready to reciprocate, with a congratulating tweet even before López Obrador was officially declared the winner, saying he was looking “very much forward to working with him.”

President Enrique Peña Nieto was struggling for popularity when he invited Trump to Mexico City in 2016 — a move that left many Mexicans unhappy. At the time, Trump was still a candidate, promising to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Shortly after meeting Peña Nieto, Trump went to Arizona, where he said that Mexico would pay for it. “They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for the wall,” he said.

Peña Nieto has insisted Mexico will do no such thing. Disagreement about the wall led to the cancellation of a trip the Mexican president planned to make to Washington earlier this year.

But López Obrador doesn’t seem any more likely than Peña Nieto to accede to that demand. At a rally in Los Angeles last year, he said he thinks “the wall and the demagoguery of patriotism are no match for the dignity and humanity of the American people.”

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