- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Trump administration waded into Mexico’s looming presidential election Wednesday, with Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly cautioning against Mexicans picking a left-wing candidate.

While the election is still a year away, in July 2018, polling shows that Manuel Lopez Obrador, a two-time loser in presidential elections, is now a front-runner. His zealous anti-American approach to politics has resonated with Mexicans furious at the verbal attacks they have suffered at the hands of President Trump.

Under questioning by Sen. John McCain, Mr. Kelly said his election would be bad for both countries.

“It would not be good for America, or for Mexico,” said Mr. Kelly, a former Marine Corps general whose purview in the military had included running Southern Command, which covers South America and Central America.

One of the biggest sticking points in Mexican politics has been Mr. Trump’s insistence that Mexico will pay for the president’s planned border wall. Mexico has also balked at Mr. Trump’s recent executive order proposing that illegal immigrants caught sneaking into the U.S. from Mexico be shipped back to Mexico while they await their court cases — even if they aren’t from Mexico originally.

Mr. Lopez Obrador has been traveling in the U.S. in recent months to complain about U.S. policy. He’s received warm welcomes from immigrant-rights groups who are cheering on his anti-Trump rhetoric.

Other likely candidates in the election include Margarita Zavala, wife of former President Felipe Calderon, and Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, the interior minister and a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which currently holds the presidency.

Mexican presidents are limited to a single six-year term.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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