MEXICO CITY – Former President Felipe Calderon tore into U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump on Saturday, comparing him to Adolf Hitler and blasting him as a racist.
Calderon, a member of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), warned that Trump’s rise in the Republican Party presidential primaries is fueling anti-Americanism around the world.
Fellow conservative Trump’s anti-migrant rhetoric is not aimed at all immigrants, but rather “he is talking about migrants that have a different color than him — and that is frankly racist,” said Calderon, speaking after an event in downtown Mexico City.
Trump is exploiting the social fears “that in his time Hitler himself did,” Calderon told reporters.
He warned that Trump “is turning the United States into a neighbor that we’re all going to end up rejecting and hating,” and that is not in the best interests of the United States.
Mexico is the third most important U.S. trade partner after Canada and China, and the neighbors share a 1,954-mile-long (3,145-km-long) border.
Trump angered Mexico by declaring that the country is sending rapists and murderers across the border, and that he will force Mexico to pay for a giant wall to keep illegal migrants out.
Earlier this month Calderon — who served as president from 2006 to 2012 — dismissed the idea of building a border wall as “stupid.”
Another conservative ex-president, Vicente Fox, Calderon’s predecessor, also compared Trump to Hitler in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN. “He reminds me of Hitler,” Fox told Cooper on Friday.
Earlier in the week, Fox said that Trump was “crazy” and told the U.S. television network Fusion, “I am not going to pay for that f****** wall.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, speaking Thursday during a visit to Mexico, said the message expressed about Mexicans by some candidates in the U.S. election campaign is “dangerous, damaging and incredibly ill-advised,” but that this episode of “xenophobia” will pass.
President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration has called Trump’s comments about Mexicans “prejudiced and absurd.”