Biden Fidgets Through Tense Press Conference with Mexican President

Octavio Hoyos /

President Joe Biden seemed more like a second grader as he sat through a long-winded speech in the Oval Office by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The president fidgeted quite frequently and could not keep his facial expressions presidential. He smirked at times and grimaced at others. And he scratched notes on a pad as the Mexican president gave remarks that lasted more than half an hour.

After about 20 minutes into the speech, López Obrador said he was getting ready to finish and that’s when Biden put a huge grin on his face and laughed. Maybe he thought snacks would be coming.

The popular leader from Mexico talked about many things including some of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s migrant policies. He hit on the cost of gasoline in both America and Mexico, and he pitched lithium mining and the need for better migration policies between the two countries.

When Biden took the podium, he told the president that he agreed with many of López Obrador’s broad points. He said, “our nations share close ties, family, and friendship.” And then he said that many of their policy differences were often exaggerated by “overhyped headlines.”

One of the things that Biden focused on in his speech was more cooperation between the two nations to deal with drugs, specifically fentanyl. He said that they should try to get a handle on the root causes that lead people to migrate from Central and South America to Mexico and the United States.

One of the points of tension for this meeting was that the Mexican president boycotted the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles last month.

López Obrador would not attend the U.S.-hosted conference because the White House administration did not invite leaders of the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

When they discovered that López Obrador was not coming, the White House administration tried to reverse their decision.

You could feel the remaining tension when López Obrador talked about the price of gasoline in the United States.

“While we’re waiting for prices or gasoline to go down in the United States, we have decided that it was necessary for us to allow Americans who live close to the border … to go and get their gasoline on the Mexican side at lower prices,” he said at one point in the speech.

In Mexico, López Obrador’s administration recently began subsidizing gasoline prices.

At the end of the speech by López Obrador, he made a call for an increase in migration policies. He also wants to make these policies more formalized. He said that it was indispensable for the two countries to regularize the policies so that his citizens would have certainty, especially those who have lived and worked in America in a very honest way.

He talked about Biden’s conservative adversaries would be screaming about these kinds of changes. He even used a phrase about these adversaries that he often uses against his own critics in Mexico. He said, “Even to the heaven they’re going to be yelling.”

He did not elaborate on the massive numbers of migrants trying to cross the U.S. border that the Republicans are focusing on.

Biden responded to the border issue by saying that we needed to work more closely together. The president said, “The thrust of what you’re saying, I agree with.”

The meeting between the two leaders lasted 45 minutes past their time in front of reporters. It was behind closed doors.

This was just one of several meetings Biden is going to have this summer that will be tense. He is getting ready to leave for both Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Let’s hope there’s Kool-aid and Nilla Wafers.