By Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times
In what her government has called “a sign of solidarity,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto today, Friday.
High on the agenda during her two-day state visit to Mexico will be their mutual political dilemma: President Trump.
From the launch of his presidential campaign two years ago through his early days in the White House, Trump made Mexico his punching bag. He called Mexican immigrants criminals, pledged to tax imports from Mexico and insisted that Mexico would pay for construction of a border wall.
But in recent months, he has extended his ire to a much wider circle of nations, many of which, like Mexico, are longtime U.S. allies.
That includes Germany, which the president has criticized for its trade surplus with the U.S., for resettling large numbers of Syrian migrants and for not spending enough on defense to meet its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Europe “can no longer rely” on its longtime friend the United States, Merkel said at an election rally in Munich saying people on the continent must “take our fate into our own hands.”
Merkel appears poised to do that on her visit to Mexico, where she and Peña Nieto will discuss trade and how to move forward on combating climate change after Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement.