MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Thursday called on Hispanic people in Florida to vote against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who launched his 2024 White House bid the day before, because of his immigration policies.
“Hopefully Hispanics in Florida will wake up and not give him one single vote, to not vote for those who persecute migrants, those who don’t respect migrants,” López Obrador said.
Speaking at his daily hours-long press conference, López Obrador addressed DeSantis’s political future, saying the governor had “uncovered” himself, using Mexican political slang for a candidate’s announcement, and taking credit for predicting DeSantis’s presidential run.
“As you can see I wasn’t wrong that all his politicking over migrants was because he wanted to be the Republican Party’s candidate,” López Obrador said.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during the North America Summit, at the National Palace in Mexico City, Jan. 10, 2023.
At his Wednesday press conference, López Obrador had bemoaned the politics behind border security and immigration in the United States.
“We have to be thinking about this regrettable phenomenon of necessary migration, used with political ends in the United States,” he said, responding to a question from The Hill.
“The governor of Texas, campaigning, [saying] he will militarize the border and that he will continue building [the] wall; and the governor of Florida, the same, because he wants to be the Republican Party candidate and he’s politicking.”
DeSantis has increasingly leaned on the immigration and border security debate, despite Florida’s distance from the U.S.-Mexico border.
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The now-GOP presidential candidate made a splash in September, when a Florida government-chartered flight picked up nearly 50 migrants from Texas and flew them to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Under DeSantis, Florida has also sent law enforcement aid to Texas.
The Hill has reached out to DeSantis’s office for comment.
López Obrador’s plea for Florida Hispanics to “wake up” comes as the state’s voters, including Latinos, have increasingly swung toward Republicans.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a political roundtable, Friday, May 19, 2023, in Bedford, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Last year, 58 percent of the state’s Hispanic voters swung toward DeSantis in his reelection campaign, according to CNN exit poll data analyzed by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas.
According to that analysis, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) lost the demographic by 2 percentage points in the 2006 election, but won it by a 15-point margin in the 2022 election.
Rubio won more than 67 percent of Hispanics of Cuban heritage and 51 percent of those without Cuban heritage.
He also won majorities among both men and women and among every age group except voters ages 18 to 29, 56 percent of whom voted for his challenger, former Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.).