During the campaign Lopez Obrador regularly used confrontational language when referring to President Donald Trump. He has previously described the U.S. president as “erratic and arrogant.”
Nonetheless, he soon sought to adopt a much more conciliatory tone in a victory speech late Sunday, saying he would seek “friendly relations” with the U.S.
Political ties between Mexico City and Washington have been strained since the election of Trump, who has routinely criticized the Latin American country over trade and migration. However, the U.S. president appeared ready to try to start things off on the right foot.
“I look very much forward to working with him,” he tweeted Sunday shortly after several of Lopez Obrador’s political rivals had conceded defeat, before adding: “There is much to be done that will benefit both the United States and Mexico!”
Duncan Wood, director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, told CNBC Monday that while Trump’s timely congratulatory message to Obrador was a “very encouraging” sign; any continuation of the U.S. president’s targeted political attacks would most definitely prompt a swift and firm response.
“Andres Manuel (Lopez Obrador) will not just sit back and take it, he will respond and that could lead to a serious deterioration of the relationship,” Wood said.