Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday criticized criminal charges against Donald Trump, suggesting that they were politically motivated to hurt his 2024 election prospects.
“Supposedly legal matters should not be used for purposes of electoral politics,” Lopez Obrador told reporters, a day after the former US president pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to alleged hush-money paid to an adult film star.
“That’s why I don’t agree with what they’re doing to former president Trump,” Lopez Obrador added during one of his daily press briefings, in which he often opines on wide-ranging topics.
He described the charges against 76-year-old Trump, who has already announced another White House bid, as a “smear campaign.”
It is the second time in recent weeks that Lopez Obrador, 69, has come out in defense of Trump.
On March 21, he had suggested that if Trump was indicted it would be to stop him running for president next year.
Lopez Obrador, a left-wing populist, had cordial relations with Trump despite the right-wing populist’s fiery rhetoric, such as during his 2016 election campaign when he branded Mexican migrants “rapists” and drug dealers.
Apart from the United States, Mexico’s president has also waded into the politics of other countries, most notably Peru, whose president was removed from office late last year.
Lopez Obrador has repeatedly described the ouster of Pedro Castillo, who attempted to dissolve Congress and rule by decree, as “illegal.”
Those remarks have sparked a diplomatic spat between the two countries, with Peru expelling Mexico’s ambassador in late February.