Real estate tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump provoked a fierce backlash in Mexico this week after making crude, xenophobic comments while announcing that he intends to run for president of the U.S. next year.
“When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending the best,” Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”
“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border,” the aspiring Republican Party candidate added, “and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
Predictably, the racist outburst caused a furor on both sides of the border. Mexicans and Mexican-Americans immediately slammed Trump’s offensive comments, while the international press exposed the deep flaws in his argument.
Mexican government speaks out
At an anti-discrimination event in Mexico City, Mexico’s Interior Minister, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, dismissed Trump’s speech as a “prejudiced and absurd” attempt at courting controversy and attention.
“He surely doesn’t know the contributions made by migrants from practically every nation in the world, who have supported the development of the United States,” Osorio Chong said.
Sergio Alcocer Martínez de Castro, sub-secretary for North America in Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Trump was blind to the reality of the situation and noted that people of Mexican origin contribute eight percent of the United States’ GDP.
Polls indicate that Trump, who only announced his candidacy on Tuesday, has no realistic chance of winning the Republican Party nomination, with only 16 to 20 percent of Americans viewing him favorably. By one measure, he is by far the least popular U.S. presidential candidate since 1980.
Trump could in fact hinder his party’s chances of success. While his comments may appeal to a small core of Republican voters, he could push the party discourse further to the right during next year’s primaries, thus further alienating the fast-growing Mexican-American and Hispanic population, not to mention immigrants of other ethnicities.
Trump’s hatred of Mexico
Trump has frequently expressed his distaste for Mexico in recent months. When Mexican director Alejandro Iñárritu won Best Picture for Birdman at this year’s Academy Awards, Trump branded the decision as “ridiculous.”
Days later, he tweeted, “The Oscars were a great night for Mexico & why not – they are ripping off the US more than almost any other nation.”
Trump also urged Americans to stop doing business with Mexico – the United States’ third biggest trading partner.
“I have a lawsuit in Mexico’s corrupt court system that I won but so far can’t collect,” he moaned. “Don’t do business with Mexico!”
Mexicans responded to Trump’s latest comments by producing an array of memes mocking him for his bigoted views.
Mexican rock band Molotov published a photo of Trump emblazoned with the words “pinche gringo puñetero,” meaning “fucking gringo jerk-off,” a line from their hugely popular racist-baiting anthem “Frijolero”.
American actor Rob Schneider also chimed in, tweeting: “Dear Donald Trump, My daughter is half Mexican. It seems like her only ‘problem’ is that she speaks 2 languages and she’s not even 3!”
Carlos Slim: worth 17 Donald Trumps
“I’m really rich,” Trump said with characteristic modesty when announcing his candidacy this week.
Trump boasted of his $8.7 billion net fortune — but according to Forbes’ real-time billionaire ranking, he is worth less than half of that, with an estimated net value of $4.1 billion making him the 429th richest person in the world.
His net worth pales in comparison with that of Mexican businessman Carlos Slim. Currently ranked the second wealthiest person on earth, Slim has amassed an estimated fortune of $72.4 billion, 17.6 times more than Trump.
After Trump’s recent anti-Mexican tirades, social media was awash with dubbed videos and reports that appeared to show Slim humiliating Trump by declaring that “he works for me.”
There is little evidence to prove Slim ever said that but Trump was certainly embarrassed during a recent appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman when the presenter emphasized the gulf between the size of their respective fortunes.
“I don’t feel so good when you mention Carlos Slim,” Trump admitted with an awkward grimace.