April 15, 2018 / 8:30 PM / 3 months ago

Mexico election front-runner blames country's graft for Trump's negative view

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s left-wing presidential front-runner said on Sunday that corrupt governments in the country were to blame for U.S. President Donald Trump’s bad impression of Mexicans, promising to change Trump’s perception if elected.

FILE PHOTO - Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) greets supporters during his campaign rally in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico, April 13, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Speaking from the tourist destination of Rosarito in the Baja California peninsula, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Trump’s bad experiences investing in Mexico were the reason for his negative view of the country.

“He invested here in Rosarito and also in Cozumel, Quintana Roo, and because of Mexico’s corrupt governments he had to leave,” Lopez Obrador said. “That’s why he got a bad impression of our country.”

Lopez Obrador, who has a double-digit lead in most major opinion polls for the July 1 election, said his message for Trump was that he was going to end corruption in Mexico.

Before he was president, Trump tried to develop real estate projects in Mexico, and later lambasted Mexico’s justice system for not helping him recoup money.

“The Mexican legal system is corrupt, as is much of Mexico. Pay me the money that is owed me now - and stop sending criminals over our border,” he said in a tweet in February 2015.

Months later, Trump sparked fury in Mexico when he launched his campaign for the presidency with a pledge to build a massive border wall and accusations that Mexico sent rapists and drug runners across the border.

Reporting by Christine Murray and Diego Ore; Editing by Peter Cooney

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