Mex­ico’s de­ci­sion to honor Kush­ner cre­ates furor

Belleville News-Democrat - - News - BY ELIS­A­BETH MALKIN New York Times

The out­go­ing pres­i­dent of Mex­ico had ex­pected to end his trou­bled term on a pos­i­tive note – sign­ing a new free-trade deal with the United States and Canada on Fri­day. Now even that mo­ment of tri­umph has gone awry.

An an­nounce­ment that Pres­i­dent En­rique Peña Ni­eto would be­stow Mex­ico’s high­est honor for for­eign­ers to Jared Kush­ner, son-in-law of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, for his role in push­ing through the trade pact has in­cited fury in Mex­ico, where anger and re­sent­ment to­ward Trump is in­tense.

The For­eign Min­istry an­nounced the re­cip­i­ent of the award, the Mex­i­can Or­der of the Aztec Ea­gle, on Tues­day. The in­credulity and ou­trage be­gan to spread al­most im­me­di­ately.

“In En­rique’s de­fense, the recog­ni­tion of Kush­ner has suc­ceeded in do­ing some­thing we all thought im­pos­si­ble – THE UNION OF THIS COUN­TRY against the con­tempt shown by this de­ci­sion,” Javier Risco, a ra­dio an­nouncer, said on Twit­ter.

The Aztec Ea­gle hon­ors non-Mex­i­cans for their ser­vice to the coun­try. Once Kush­ner is dec­o­rated, he will be in the com­pany of Queen El­iz­a­beth II, King Philip VI of Spain, Nel­son Man­dela, Bill and Melinda Gates, Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez, his­to­ri­ans, sci­en­tists and a rock star phi­lan­thropist, Bono.

The pres­i­dent, who will present the award this week on the side­lines of the Group of 20 meet­ing in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina, leaves of­fice Sat­ur­day af­ter a six-year term. His suc­cess in push­ing through eco­nomic changes was over­whelmed by wide­spread cor­rup­tion and a surge in vi­o­lence.

In com­ments to re­porters Tues­day, Peña Ni­eto called Kush­ner “a great ally” of Mex­ico who had “truly con­trib­uted to reach­ing this agree­ment.”

But dec­o­rat­ing Kush­ner was viewed as an en­dorse­ment of Trump, who be­gan his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign by in­sult­ing Mex­i­can im­mi­grants and call­ing for the United States to build a wall along the 2,000-mile bor­der – a de­mand he has been re­peat­ing this week dur­ing bud­get ne­go­ti­a­tions in Wash­ing­ton.

“Kush­ner is the son-in­law of some­one who called Mex­i­cans ‘mur­der­ers and rapists,’ ” En­rique Krauze, a his­to­rian, wrote on Twit­ter. “Giv­ing him the Aztec Ea­gle is a supreme at­ti­tude of hu­mil­i­a­tion and cow­ardice.”

Jesús Silva-Her­zog, a well-known po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst, was sim­i­larly acer­bic in his re­ac­tion.

“The Aztec Ea­gle to Kush­ner? Re­ally? That is how the gov­ern­ment of in­dig­nity bids farewell,” he said on Twit­ter. “A per­fect crown­ing to its in­de­cency.”

ERIN SCHAFF NYT

Jared Kush­ner, a White House se­nior ad­viser, is ex­pected to re­ceive Mex­ico’s high­est honor for for­eign­ers for his role in push­ing through the trade pact.

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