Supporters and detractors alike gave Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador a variety of labels during his campaign, including nationalist, populist, protectionist, the Mexican Trump and the anti-Trump.
The characterizations, all of which contained at least a sliver of truth, suggested rough times ahead for Mexico's trading partners at a time when the North American Free Trade Agreement appears to be hanging by a thread.
But since his landslide victory on July 1, Lopez Obrador — also known by his initials AMLO — has wasted no time in showing his more pragmatic side by reaching out to his enemies in the business community and taking a half-hour phone call from U.S. President Donald Trump.
Lopez Obrador told TV Azteca that he and Trump talked generally about economic development and ways they can work toward being good neighbors.
Much to the delight of the business community, the former Mexico City mayor and three-time presidential candidate also embraced NAFTA with gusto during a weeklong media tour.
After meeting with outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto, the president-elect said he will support the current government's approach to the NAFTA talks until his inauguration on Dec. 1. "We are going to work together on the revision of the [trade] agreement," Lopez Obrador said at a news conference, "with the goal of signing a [final] accord."
The whirlwind week of "AMLOVE" — the gentler side of the fiery politician that is promoted by supporters on campaign signs and social media — stood in contrast to Trump's consistently hostile outlook toward Mexico and other trading partners, particularly concerning proposed tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.