Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Wednesday criticized the historic charges against former President Donald Trump, suggesting the indictment is politically motivated.
“Supposedly legal issues should not be used for electoral purposes,” López Obrador told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday, according to the AFP and Associated Press news agencies. “I don’t agree with what they are doing to former President Trump,” he also said. “I do not know if crimes were committed, it’s not my place.”
He described the charges against Trump as a “smear campaign” and added that “it should be the people who decide.”
Other than López Obrador, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban publicly spoke out about the charges. In a Twitter post, Orban told Trump to “keep on fighting” and said that “we are with you.”
López Obrador had a warm relationship with Trump, despite the former U.S. president’s public statements that he would build a wall separating the two countries to stave off illegal immigration from Mexico. After López Obrador agreed to help keep illegal aliens at the U.S.–Mexico border in what was known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, Trump largely refrained from criticizing Mexico and its president’s policies.
Both Trump and López Orbrado have often said they’ve had elections stolen from them, and both frequently criticize the media in their respective countries. During the 2006 and 2012 presidential elections, López Orbrador alleged there was massive voter fraud that denied him victories.
After it was announced by Trump last month that he would be arrested, the Mexican president also suggested that the charges were politically motivated. Trump then praised López Orbrador, a left-wing populist commonly referred to as AMLO, on Truth Social.
López Obrador notably criticized social media companies for banning Trump’s accounts in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. In November of last year, he urged Twitter under Elon Musk to reinstate Trump’s then-suspended account.
Few other world leaders have offered their opinions on the Manhattan District Attorney’s charges against the former president. The White House, meanwhile, has generally refrained from commenting on the charges against Trump.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that Trump’s indictment did not come up during a NATO meeting in Brussels. Instead, officials are concerned with allowing Finland to join the military alliance amidst the war in Ukraine.
“I don’t do politics. I can tell you, though, that the question you raised about the proceedings in New York actually did not come up in my conversations with NATO colleagues,” he said. “I think people are very focused on what we’re actually doing.”
Russian officials were asked about the indictment last week and refused to comment. “I don’t think this is a topic for us to comment on,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters last week. “These are internal U.S. processes that we do not consider necessary to comment on.”
Trump pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 34 felony counts related to payments that were made during the 2016 presidential campaign. In a highly publicized moment, Trump arrived at the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday to enter his plea, becoming the first current or former U.S. president to face felony charges.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office contends that Trump falsified business records in a scheme that he hatched with a former lawyer and a former publisher of the National Enquirer. Trump maintains that Bragg and Democrats are attempting to politically harm him, a leading Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential race.
Some of Trump’s critics and legal experts have expressed public skepticism over Bragg’s case.
“I believe President Trump’s character and conduct make him unfit for office. Even so, I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who twice voted to convict Trump during his two impeachment trials. “The prosecutor’s overreach sets a dangerous precedent for criminalizing political opponents and damages the public’s faith in our justice system.”
Richard Hasen, a campaign finance law expert at UCLA, noted in the left-wing outlet Slate that “it is said that if you go after the king, you should not miss. In this vein, it is very easy to see this case tossed for legal insufficiency or tied up in the courts well past the 2024 election before it might ever go to trial. It will be a circus that will embolden Trump, especially if he walks.”