By Michael Hill
Gov. Chris Christie in Mexico — his first official trip to the U.S. neighbor — where he’s praised Mexico’s president and hosted a breakfast for members of the Mexican Business Council. The governor says he has a different view of the Mexico-U.S. relationship.
“Too often our neighbors in Mexico and Canada have felt they were an afterthought in U.S. foreign policy. Let me be clear about my view: my view is that they should be our first thought,” Christie said.
Christie calls it a three-day trade mission. On this — his second day — he signed a memorandum of understanding with Mexico for a collaboration among higher education institutions for joint research ventures, cross-border fellowships and teacher exchanges and more.
On his first day, he called for an end to the 39-year-old U.S. ban on crude oil exports to counter European dependence on Russian oil. New technologies now have made the U.S. the world’s top oil producer.
Christie says the U.S./ Mexico trade relationship has room and conditions to grow.
“It is striking in looking at events around the world … fortunate to be in a peaceful neighborhood,” said Christie.
Officially, Gov. Christie’s using this trip to bolster trade ties between Mexico and New Jersey but unofficially and undoubtedly he’s using this to bolster his image as a potential presidential candidate in 2016.
“Not uncommon to travel for trade missions. When your Chris Christie and have presidential ambitions, if you can do something for state. If you’re seen to do for own gain could potentially backfire. No gaffes yet, no setbacks. Could potentially help him hold court with foreign leaders,” said Krista Jenkins of the FDU PublicMind Poll.
These kinds of trips provide politicians with great photo opportunities and to fully control the message. And in the governor’s speech, not once did he mention the thorny issues of immigration and border security, issues no “declared” presidential candidate would be able to ignore.