Day-long visit included celebration of new trade agreement
WASHINGTON, D.C., (KYMA, KECY/NBC News) - Presidents Donald Trump and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) of Mexico are capping off their day-long visit with a "working dinner."
This is Obrador's first visit to the U.S., and first trip outside Mexico, since assuming the presidency in December of 2018.
On Wednesday morning, the leaders signed a declaration solidifying the relationship between Mexico and the U.S. They also celebrated the enactment of the USMCA trade agreement. It replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). President Trump calls USMCA "the largest trade deal ever," but many economists say the two agreements are only marginally different.
As the visit moved into the evening hours, Trump and Obrador praised each other calling it a "productive day." However, neither revealed details about their conversations throughout the day.
President Trump told reporters, many people would be surprised by how well the two leaders get along.
"I would just like to say that it has been a profound privilege to have you with us today and it is a profound privilege to have you as my friend. We have had a great relationship right from the beginning. And I think that maybe was against all odds. A lot of people were betting against it. But they have learned not to bet against us, I suspect. I know they have learned that in Mexico." said Trump.
President Obrador told reporters he and Trump are "amigos."
The friendly tone of the meetings have surprised many given the Trump administration's continued and vehement crackdown on illegal immigration. In the early years of his presidency, Trump repeatedly called for Mexico to pay for the border wall. More recently the President has routinely called on Mexican leadership to step up and take a larger role in stemming the flow of migrants into the U.S.
At least one member of Congress took issue with the congenial tone of the visit. Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona) who represents Yuma County, questioned both the meeting's tone, andits timing.
“I had high hopes for Mexico’s future when Lopez Obrador won the Mexican Presidency on a progressive platform that sought to tackle corruption, inequality, and push back on President Trump’s anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant agenda. Instead, AMLO has become nothing more than Trump’s collaborator and has willingly executed Trump’s agenda on the other side of the border.
Now, he travels to Washington in the middle of a pandemic that neither Mexico or the United States has adequately addressed for a photo op with a President who came to power demonizing the Mexican people as criminals, drug dealers, and rapists. This is a slap in the face to Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and all of the migrants living just over the U.S. border on Mexican soil who are fighting for their lives as they await their chance at asylum in the United States.”Statement from Rep. Raúl Grijalva, (D-AZ)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he declined to fly to Washington to participate in today's celebration of the USMCA. The White House says Trudeau was not invited.