Birthday tweets seldom assume overtones of attack, but on his special day the former Mexican president Vicente Fox mixed mushy messages for his wife, Martha Sahagún, with scorn for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
“Marta. I love you an your birthday, PRECISELY BECAUSE YOU ARE MEXICAN. VIVA MEXICO,” Fox tweeted during a dinner with his wife in Cancún on Friday.
Fox has emerged as Mexico’s most vocal and voracious Trump critic, unloading on the candidate via Twitter and denouncing him in interviews and op-ed pieces. The current Mexican government, meanwhile, is finally formulating a response to Trump trashing Mexican migrants and boasting of plans for a border wall.
Friday was no exception for Fox as he furiously tweeted five mostly misspelled messages – complete with pictures of the birthday cake and a portrait of the birthday girl – in an apparent attempt to inspire Trump’s envy.
“Trump, celebrating Martha’s birthday. Guess where? Cancun, and you will never be invited. You are not wellcome,” read one of the tweets.
“You now Trump, we don’t like you. We are proud to share the party with mostly Americans that love MX,” read another.
Fox ended with an awkward picture of a smiling Sahagún: “This’s beautifull Marta my love! It’s birthday. What do you know about Love? Or you just know about hating. How sad!”
Trump did not immediately respond, though he has previously chided Fox for cursing in an interview about the proposed border wall.
In Mexico, the Trump trolling brought laughter – and groans – as Mexicans used Twitter to mock the tweets, question Fox’s competence and even ask about sobriety. Both “Vicente Fox” and “Martita” trended into the small hours of Saturday.
“Vicente Fox, tweeting drunk. A president that represents me Fox 2018,” tweeted Chumel Torres, host of the popular political comedy show El Pulso de la República.
Others asked for someone to take away Fox’s smartphone, while some had fun with the photo of Sahagún – whose time as first lady was not without controversy.
Related: Former Mexican president blasts Trump, says he will not pay for wall
Fox won office and ended one-party rule in 2000 with a campaign some observers recall as ironically similar to Trump’s – shaking up a staid system with a brash style while promising all things to all people and offering few policy specifics.
Some analysts, though, see Fox – once governor of Guanajuato state, where an influx of automotive manufacturing arrived with the Nafta trade deal – as sincere in his attacks on Trump. He attempted to deepen US-Mexican relations after taking office and appeared to be gaining ground on an immigration reform package – only to have the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 scuttle such efforts.
“His allies now turn out to be Trump’s enemies, so Fox is being true to form,” said Federico Estévez, political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico.
“He’s playing with [the attacks] at a circus level of rhetoric and splashiness, but he really is being true to how his vision started.”
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