- Biden mentioned migration and illegal drugs in remarks with Mexican leader
- He reached agreement with China’s Xi Jinping on fentanyl Wednesday
- He joked that Lopez Obrador was ‘so captivating’ at event with Jill Biden
President Joe Biden is set to press Mexico on the countering the fentanyl epidemic after securing commitments from the Chinese to clamp down on ‘precursor’ chemicals of the drug that is ravaging the nation.
Biden revealed his intention to bring up the sensitive issue during friendly remarks with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador – with Biden even joking that his wife first lady Jill Biden fancies the younger North American leader, 70.
Both men also referenced the immigration crisis, with Biden lauding efforts to do with ‘enforcing our borders’ and both men championing new ‘legal pathways’ to entry into the U.S.
‘We’re working side by side to combat arms trafficking, to tackle organized crime and to address the opioid epidemic and including fentanyl, which when we talk privately, I want to tell you about my great conversation with Xi Jinping on that,’ Biden told his Mexican counterpart.
Their sit down in San Francisco comes two days after the powerful Chinese leader Biden said he still considers a ‘dictator’ agreed to steps to limit the manufacture in China of precursor chemicals to the powerful drug. Those materials get shipped to Mexico and other Latin American nations where the drug contributes to rising U.S. overdose depths, including some Biden this week said have occurred in his home state.
Biden raised the sensitive issues of drugs and immigration after complimenting his left-leaning guest with a joke about a banquet at the APEC conference Biden is hosting here in San Francisco.
‘I told you, you sat next to my wife you were so captivating I was worried she likes you more than she likes me now,’ Biden quipped.
Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, was complimentary toward his host, and kept his remarks uncharicalistically brief as the president prepares to fly home to Delaware.
‘And I would also like to express and to say that he is the first president in the United States in recent times who has not built walls. It is true, and we need to continue to support one another so migration is an option and not enforced,’ he said.
Speaking to the fentanyl issue that is a political vulnerability for Biden, he said: ‘Mexico’s undertaking is to continue to support so we do not allow the introduction of chemical components and chemical precursors to fentanyl because we’re fully aware of the damage it poses to the United States youth. This is a matter of humanism. It’s an act of solidarity. We are sincerely committed to continue to assist at our policy capacity to prevent drug trafficking,’ he said.
He spoke of 40 million Mexicans living in the U.S., and cheered new policies that let Central Americans apply for entry into the U.S. from their home countries as an alternative to illegal crossings through Mexico with ‘all the suffering and risks such endeavor poses.’
‘It’s a humane way to address the migratory phenomenon,’ he said.
‘He is the first president in recent times in opening legal pathways for migration,’ Lopez Obrador said of Biden.
He concluded his remarks lauding Biden, who even while in California encountered more concerning poll numbers as he faces reelection next year.
‘You have an extraordinary president in the United States. A man with convictions. A good man,’ he said.