President Joe Biden said Monday at the White House that the United States and Mexico are “equal” in North America, promising to work closely with the Mexican government.
“In the Obama-Biden administration, we made a commitment that we would look at Mexico as an equal, not as somebody who is south of our border,” Biden said in his opening remarks. “We are equal.”
Biden hosted a video conference with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday and brought in the press to witness their opening remarks.
“I want them to see what a good-looking fellow you are — so they can see you,” Biden joked as reporters entered the room.
Biden commented that he enjoyed visiting Mexico as vice president, including a visit to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Biden also said he wore rosary beads that once belonged to his son Beau Biden on his wrist.
“There is a long and complicated history between our two nations. We haven’t always been perfect neighbors with one another, but we have seen over and over again the power and purpose when we cooperate,” he said.
He noted that Mexico had a dramatic impact on the entire Western hemisphere.
“As you know, the fastest-growing population in the United States is Hispanic,” he said, noting that 60 percent of the Hispanic population in the United States is Mexican-American
“You’re an integral part of our history,” Biden said. “I keep a bust of a civil rights leader, Chavez — Cesar Chavez — in my Oval Office as a reminder.”
Biden did not address the issue of border security, trade, or the migrant crisis on the southern border during his opening statement.
Obrador thanked Biden for the video meeting, noting that he expected the future of the relationship with America to get better.
“We are united by 3180 kilometers of border, but we are not only united by geography, we are united by our economies, our trade, our culture, our history, and our friendship,” he said.
Obrador quoted former President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz who said, “Poor Mexico, so far from God and yet so close to the United States,” as Biden smiled broadly and chuckled.
“I can now say, ‘It’s wonderful for Mexico to be close to God and not so far from the United States,'” Obardor continued.
Reporters were ushered out of the room after the opening statements from both leaders.