Mexican president to fly commercial to meet Trump in Washington
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's president said on Thursday that he and his delegation were going commercial in Washington for an upcoming meeting with his counterpart Donald Trump in Washington, although there are currently no direct flights to the U.S. capital.
The trip planned for July is the first official visit abroad by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, accompanied by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, Minister of Economic Affairs Graciela Marquez and his Chief of Staff Alfonso Romo.
"I'm not going to get on a private plane, but with a (commercial) airline," said Lopez Obrador at a regular press conference. "There is still no way to get directly from Mexico City to Washington. I have to stop over, but we'll be there."
The frugal left, 66, has made public sector austerity a priority of his presidency and cut his own salary and that of top officials. He is also in the process of selling or giving away his predecessor's luxury presidential jet.
Mexico and the United States have kept their airways open during the coronavirus pandemic, but regular flights between Mexico City and Washington have yet to be restored.
The Mexican president has suggested that the meeting could take place in early July, although no date has yet been set.
The first personal meeting between the two is the beginning of a new North American trade agreement.
Lopez Obrador's flying habits contrast sharply with Trump, who bought a luxury private jet before entering politics and ordered a new Air Force One presidential plane for several billion dollars after taking office.
Despite being critical of Trump in the past, Lopez Obrador has built a friendly relationship with the American.
The Mexican opposition, and even some ruling party members, have criticized Lopez Obrador for giving in to Trump on migration and security after the US president threatened to hit trade tariffs on Mexico if it didn't tighten its border.
Lopez Obrador has not left Mexico since winning the presidency in July 2018.
(Reporting by Dave Graham and Raul Cortes Fernandez; writing by Drazen Jorgic; editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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