MEXICO CITY – Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon expressed hope that two United States Cabinet secretaries who are visiting Mexico this week will demonstrate more statesmanship than President Donald Trump, who he said was still in campaign mode.
“I hope (the visit) is useful and that the American officials have a much more mature, sensible and down-to-earth statesman-like perspective than that of President Trump,” Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), told EFE on Tuesday, describing the US head of state as someone who plays to the media and acts as if he is still on the campaign trail.
Speaking of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who arrives in Mexico on Wednesday along with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly for a two-day visit, Calderon noted that he served for a decade as chief executive officer of ExxonMobil and said he was a pragmatist on issues such as Mexico-US energy relations.
Calderon also said he hoped the Cabinet officials arrived with an understanding of Mexico’s importance for the US, or at least develop that awareness during their visit.
“We’re essential. We’re vital for US national security, for international cooperation, for a lot of issues important to the Americans, such as organized crime, drug trafficking, immigration, trade,” the ex-president said.
Mexico also is the second-leading destination for American exports, according to Calderon, who said more than 1.1 million US families depend directly on the Mexican market for their livelihoods.
Referring to Trump’s proposal for a wall spanning the entire 2,000-mile (3,220-kilometer) US-Mexico border, Calderon said it would serve no purpose because net migration to the US from Mexico was negative, with more Mexicans returning or being sent back than traveling to the neighboring country.
Alluding to Trump’s vows to bring back manufacturing jobs that have been shipped overseas, Calderon said the more jobs the US president destroys in Mexico the greater the northward flow of migrants.
“It’s a basic rule of economics and sociology,” he said.
Furthermore, if Trump follows through on his threat to deport millions of undocumented migrants, the US economy will take a big hit because more than 60 percent of agricultural workers in that country are migrants, Calderon said.
“Are the Republican Trump voters going to pick vegetables with their hands and work from sunup to sundown? Are they going to milk cows? Of course not.”