President López Obrador announced Wednesday that he will travel to Washington “very soon” to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump.
At his daily press briefing, López Obrador said the meeting would celebrate the July 1 entry into force of the new trade treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada.
“It will be soon, we are just waiting to define the character of the meeting. We want the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to participate as well,” López Obrador added.
This will be the first trip that López Obrador has made abroad since he assumed the presidency in December 2018.
The visit to Washington, D.C., will most likely take place shortly after July 1, when the Mexican president will hold a ceremony to commemorate the two-year anniversary of his victory in the 2018 presidential election.
López Obrador indicated that the exact date will be confirmed later this week.
At a press conference in Yuma, Arizona, Tuesday, Trump commented that illegal migration has decreased 84% over last year and illegal crossings of Central Americans have dropped 97%. The president thanked López Obrador for his efforts.
“If you look at so many of the different crimes that come through the border, they’re stopped. We’ve implemented groundbreaking agreements with Mexico. I want to thank the president of Mexico. He’s really a great guy,” Trump said. “I think he’ll be coming into Washington pretty soon, to the White House.”
Critics of López Obrador are skeptical that the meeting will be beneficial for Mexico, where Trump is not generally well-liked, and did not mince words.
In a post to Twitter, the former Mexican ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhán, called the potential visit “a big blunder and a mistake,” saying that Trump would only use the Mexican president as an electoral prop.
In an interview earlier this month Sarukhán called such a visit “suicidal for Mexico’s long-term and strategic relationship with the United States.”
He told journalist León Krauze that López Obrador runs the risk of being perceived as a Trump ally.
Former foreign minister Jorge Castañeda told Reuters he thought a visit was “a dumb idea” considering it is an election year in the United States.