Former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Why Donald Trump "Couldn't Even Clean the Cape" of Ronald Reagan (Q&A)
The retired leader warns that Mexico could become the next Cuba, says the Republican nominee has already done "severe damage" to relations with his country and praises Hillary Clinton as Margaret Thatcher with compassion.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox has been very outspoken in his opposition to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, even going so far as to declare in an interview in February, "I'm not going to pay for that f—ing wall." Fox, who served from 2000 to 2006, talked with The Hollywood Reporter about the danger a Trump presidency would pose, how Mexico could become the next Cuba and why Hillary Clinton is like Margaret Thatcher.
Foreign leaders don't often weigh in on foreign elections, but you have spoke a lot about Trump. Why?
The presidency of the United States is big, maybe the presidency of the world, because of the leadership this nation has, so when the United States elects a president, we — the rest of the world — are very attentive. In this case we are highly worried because of the wrong and ignorant proposals that Trump has introduced. It's not that we want to be there getting involved, it's that it will affect us so much, and we must be prepared for what happens.
Just having Trump as the Republican nominee, how much damage do you think has been done to U.S.-Mexico relations and relations with the rest of the world?
He has already caused severe damage. Number one: Dividing. The U.S. society and community is divided now. Those that go along with his ideology, even dictatorial proposals that's he's suggesting, and the other half that is minorities, that are a different color than the whites. Minorities are very soon going to be the majority in the United States. I am absolutely surprised that this fact is not known by Senor Trump. It is very, very few [minorities] that are undocumented. The great majority are U.S. citizens. Talking the way he talks, discriminating the way he discriminates is an awful thing to happen within the United States community. Number two, he almost said that [the U.S. is] going to war with everybody who is involved with Muslim lands or whatever creed or race, he is going to war with them. [Third], in the hands of a very short-fuse person who explodes seconds after he hears something, imagine to have in his hands the red button to go to an atomic bomb to attack another nation. It's incredible. And finally, the man has never been in the army, he has not been drafted, he has not represented his nation that he says he loves so much. He has never defended it. He has never done anything in that respect. So I ask him, where are your credentials for [leading] the U.S. Army? In the case of Afghanistan or Iraq, why hasn't he enrolled in the draft? Why should it only be browns or blacks as the ones to go to war and not him or the whites that he represents?
How about this: Do you think the media in the United States has given Trump too much of a free ride?
Absolutely yes. It's incredible that media is so much in promotion of this person, especially Fox News, 24 hours a day. The coverage is total. The presence of Hillary, if there's any on Fox News, it is to be attacked. Nobody questions him. I think that as it used to happen in Mexico with the old system, it was said that television would appoint the next president because they would back him up so much they would make him president. It is incredible in the United States that Fox News is the one, the real one, who is electing a president, and they have already elected Senor Trump. It's incredible.
Have we turned politics into another reality TV show where it's more spectacle than substance?
It's a circus, a sophisticated circus, and he is playing around with people. He is cheating people. He's a false prophet. I am surprised that he has followers. People that don't really evaluate, really discuss and think about what he is proposing. Imagine him telling people, "I am going to protect you by building a wall, and [behind] that wall the United States will be isolated." Why do U.S. citizens accept that when this is the leading nation of the world? What will happen if you isolate it, like what he is proposing. Then somebody [else] will take the world leadership. It could be China, very possibly due to the strength of the economy and the influence they have in many parts of the world. If he kicks our ass out of the United States — I mean Mexicans — if he kicks our ass out of the United States, he should think about that we will start looking for new friends. What will he think if we have a friend like China? Building up stations, building up highways, bridges, building up economic institutions right on the border. Does he want another Cuba?
You have exchanged lunch invitations with Trump. He invited you to New York, you invited him to your ranch. What would you like to show him or tell him abut Mexico that you think he doesn't know?
We already asked for an apology. He has not apologized. I already accepted a lunch as long as he apologizes to Mexico, to Mexicans in the United States and Mexicans out of the United States. As long as he apologizes to U.S. white workers [for claiming] Mexico is taking jobs away from them. That's a lie. That's an absolute lie. He's cheating. He is being a false prophet. He has to apologize to those workers that work in the United States. But there are so many ties, underwear, shirts and clothing that he imports under his name brand and that he uses personally. That is lying directly to U.S. workers not to tell them the truth.
Do you think he actually has any chance to be elected president?
I think much better of the American people. Half of my blood is American. I am proud to have that half of my blood as American. I am proud to have had my grandfather as a great American, hardworking person. He had the compassionate leadership that Hillary Clinton has. She's a strong lady. She is an iron lady when she has to be. She's firm when she has to be firm. She's a Margaret Thatcher, and at the same time she's a person that has compassion, that knows how to work with people side by side, that knows how to build education, to improve health care for people, to do better for the people. She's a loving mother with care and resect for U.S. citizens. That's the kind of leadership we would all like to see sitting in that presidential chair. The kind of leadership we saw with President Reagan. He said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall." This stupid guy is building a wall. He says that he is much like Reagan. He could never even clean the cape of Mr. Reagan, such a great president, or Kennedy or Washington or Jefferson, or all of those great leaders that have had enough sense to always combine strength, power, fairness, as well as compassion.