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Republicans Fume, Blow Off Mexican President’s Visit to Congress

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Watch them grimace. See them shake their heads in mock dismay as Senator John Cornyn did during Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s speech yesterday at the joint session of Congress. Or hey, don’t show up at all, which is what Arizona’s two GOP senators, John “complete the danged fence” McCain and Jon Kyl, did as well as several other Republican leaders. Their seats had to be filled by teenage pages.

Why show up? It’s only the president of our neighboring country, whose in the middle of an unprecedented and bloody drug cartel war fueled by the U.S.’ demand for drugs. Oh, and Mexico is our second most important trading partner. But who really cares? It’s election season.

Conservatives are more than willing to demonize Mexico and use it as a punching bag to win reelection, but they can’t be bothered to hear what Mexico’s president has to say.

Calderon criticized the massive number of assault rifles flowing into Mexico! How dare he! What he said actually, was that while he respected the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment protections, assault weapons are falling into the hands of drug gangs who are fighting the Mexican government. Who does this guy think he is?

And he called Arizona’s racial profiling bill a “terrible idea.” The nerve!  “… It’s “inappropriate” huffed Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. “…for a head of state to question our laws, especially when the state of Arizona only acted in the best interest of its citizens and with the support of 70 percent of its people.”

Senator Cornyn was also outraged, which is apparently why he was channeling the Church Lady shaking his head and tsk tsking under his breath during Calderon’s 35-minute speech.

“I don’t think Americans ought to give up any of their freedoms in order to address another country’s problems,” Cornyn opined. “I’m a little uncomfortable with his commenting on American internal affairs and American domestic laws.”

I think New York Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano was right on mark when he called the Republicans on their trumped up outrage. Serrano said their complaints about Calderon criticizing U.S. law on American soil were invalid because U.S. lawmakers “tell Mexico every day that it’s got to get its house in order.”

And they’ll continue to bash Mexico every chance they get — all the way to election day.

Mexico’s got plenty of problems and so does the United States. Immigration, trade relations, drugs – you name it. Ignoring those problems and the President of Mexico is not going to make them go away

Melissa del Bosque joined The Texas Observer staff in 2008. She specializes in reporting on immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border. Her work has been published in national and international publications including TIME magazine and the Mexico City-based Nexos magazine. Melissa is a 2014-15 Lannan Fellow at The Investigative Fund.