Mexico’s decision to honor Kushner creates furor
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.”
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.