2nd Mexican presidential debate starts with US relationship

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s second presidential debate started Sunday night with all four candidates insisting that mutual respect must be the basis for their country’s relationship with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The debate was held in the border city of Tijuana and focused on issues of foreign policy, immigration and border security.

Polls indicate leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has a comfortable lead over the remaining three candidates. Many have questioned about how confrontational he would be as president with Trump, but his answer Sunday was the most moderate.

Jose Antonio Meade, former foreign minister and candidate for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, defended President Enrique Pena Nieto’s decision to invite Trump to Mexico during the U.S. presidential campaign in 2016. Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton were both invited, but only Trump accepted. Meade also said that he never thought Trump was going to win.

Ricardo Anaya, the candidate of a right-left coalition, called that episode a “humiliation” for Mexico. He said Mexico should be more assertive with the U.S. “In security they need us a lot,” Anaya said.

Independent candidate Jaime “El Bronco” Rodriguez said Mexico needs to wean itself from the U.S. “and put them in their place.”

The second independent candidate, Margarita Zavala, dropped out of the race last week after struggling to gain traction. She is a former lawmaker and is married to former President Felipe Calderon,

The national election is scheduled for July 1.

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