Billionaires Rally Behind AMLO After Trump’s Tariff Threats

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaires Carlos Slim and Alberto Bailleres have set aside their differences with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, at least for now.

Both were among several businessmen who rallied behind Lopez Obrador in the days after President Donald Trump said he’d slap tariffs on Mexican goods if the country doesn’t solve its immigration problem.

Billionaires Rally Behind AMLO After Trump’s Tariff Threats

The support marks a shift in Lopez Obrador’s relationship with the nation’s wealthiest. Before last year’s election, Bloomberg News reported that at Bailleres’ luxurious department stores, employees were being made to sit through mandatory talks that detailed all the reasons why they shouldn’t vote for Lopez Obrador. As for Slim, the president’s recent digs at some of the billionaire’s businesses have cooled what was once a cordial relationship.

But at a time when Mexico’s northern neighbor is threatening to upend billions of dollars in daily trade, it’s all left in the past.

"I appreciate the solidarity from the rich and the poor," Lopez Obrador tweeted Monday, alongside a screenshot of the letter that Bailleres sent him. Slim and the Aleman family, who own airline Interjet, have also reached out, he said, without specifying how or when.

Referencing Lopez Obrador’s letter to Trump, Bailleres wrote he wished to congratulate him and express his support and sympathy. "The content and tone of your letter, with dignity and decorum, showed the character of a Chief of State who knows how to defend the interests of our beloved Mexico in a constructive way," Bailleres’ letter read, dated May 31.

On Monday, Lopez Obrador said he remains optimistic that Mexico and the U.S. can reach an agreement. Mexico has interviews lined up with several U.S. ministries to discuss the possible tariffs, he said, adding his government will always defend those that need to migrate. On Sunday, Trump said he’s "really okay" with imposing tariffs should talks fail this week.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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