(This morning President-elect Lopez Obrador of Mexico called President Trump. On a third line I served as translator.)
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador – President Trump, please don’t do anything rash before we’ve had time to meet.
Donald Trump – Thanks for calling but let’s keep in mind you’re not the president yet and won’t be until December first.
AMLO – The impoverished Central American immigrants still have to walk almost two thousand miles.
DT – A few days ago there were about four thousand in their caravan. Now there are seven thousand.
AMLO – It’ll take them months to walk to the United States.
DT – They won’t be walking long. They’ll be riding buses and jumping on trains.
AMLO – Most can’t afford transportation.
DT – I’m talking about freight trains. And I know people save thousands for coyotes at our border so they’ve certainly got bus fare. You’ve got to stop them or I’ll send in the army, and I don’t mean the reserves.
AMLO – That’s contrary to U.S. law, which forbids using the army to act as a police force. Please also acknowledge that we’re offering the immigrants applications for refugee status. At least a thousand have so far accepted.
DT – Too many Mexicans are giving them food and water and rides in pickup trucks.
AMLO – You can’t possibly object to basic human decency.
DT – I understand that. But Mexico’s attitude is part of the problem. You just want to push them up to and through our border as fast as you can.
AMLO – In that regard, President Trump, you’re quite mistaken. I’m calling you today so we can begin focusing on economic development in Central America and southern Mexico. That’s where poverty and crime are worst and most of the people in the caravan come from.
DT – The United States has been quite generous to Latin America over the years.
AMLO – Your country has also enriched itself greatly. But we don’t need to debate history. We need to focus on investments that will generate jobs and economic growth. Agriculture, transportation, technology, and infrastructure are all areas we can improve if we focus our attention and our resources.
DT – We can take a look at that.
AMLO – Keep in mind, President Trump, that as these regions become wealthier, they’ll buy many more products from the United States.
DT – That should decrease our trade deficit with Mexico.
AMLO – It definitely would. And I envision several wonderful Trump hotels and golf courses in the region.
DT – Andres, we don’t have to wait till you’re sworn in. Let’s get together as soon as possible.