‘Time, Patience, Cold Blood’: Mexico Prepares for a Potential Trump Win

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Mexican officials and aides are gearing up for a potential shift in U.S. relations if Donald Trump wins in November.

As Mexico approaches its presidential election next month, government officials and campaign aides are also bracing for a different vote: the possibility of Donald Trump returning to the presidency in the United States.

The last time Mr. Trump held office, his victory caught many of America’s allies off guard, and his confrontational diplomacy required rapid adaptation. Now, they have the opportunity to anticipate how a Trump win would reshape relations that President Biden has worked to normalize—and they’re diligently preparing for potential upheaval.

For some, memories of negotiating with Mr. Trump during his previous term, when he wielded extreme threats against Mexico, remain vivid.

As the Mexican government braces for a potential shift in U.S. relations, they recall the challenges of negotiating with Mr. Trump during his previous term. Former Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard succinctly summarized the approach required: “Time, patience, cold blood.” Winning negotiations with Mr. Trump demanded understanding and resilience, even when the path was arduous.

Now, officials in Mexico anticipate that working with Mr. Trump could be even more challenging. The former president has pledged “the largest deportation operation in American history,” floated the idea of imposing 100 percent tariffs on Chinese cars manufactured in Mexico, and vowed to deploy U.S. Special Forces to combat drug cartels.

Behind the scenes, the Mexican government engages with individuals close to the Trump campaign, discussing proposals such as the former president’s threat of a “universal tariff” on all imported goods. They also work to resolve trade disputes before the U.S. election. The overarching goal is to equip the future Mexican administration to engage effectively with Mr. Trump, should he return to power.

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President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico established a close working relationship with Mr. Trump during the early years of his administration, despite Mr. Trump’s repeated threats of tariffs and border wall expenses. However, Mr. López Obrador is stepping down after his term ends following the June presidential elections. Polls indicate a significant advantage for his protégé, Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City.

The Mexican leader has commended Mr. Trump for respecting Mexican sovereignty, while Mr. Trump reciprocated by calling him “a friend” and “a great president.” Yet, it remains uncertain how Mr. Trump would engage with either of the top two presidential candidates.

Ms. Sheinbaum asserts that regardless of the outcome—whether President Trump or President Biden—their goal is to maintain positive relations. “We will always defend Mexico and Mexicans in the U.S., seeking an equal relationship,” she stated in an interview.

Xóchitl Gálvez, the top opposition candidate, shares a pragmatic perspective. While she prefers working with a respectful and courteous gentleman like Joe Biden, she acknowledges her ability to navigate diverse masculinities. “It wouldn’t be the first time I confronted a character with complicated masculinity,” she said. “So I could work perfectly well with Trump.”

Campaign aides are diligently preparing for either scenario. Juan Ramón de la Fuente, a member of Ms. Sheinbaum’s team, emphasizes readiness without undue worry. “We are preparing for both scenarios,” he affirms.

Source: New Yhttps://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/09/world/americas/trump-mexico-2024-election.htmlork Times