MEXICO CITY (AP) – Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Saturday joined his predecessor in office in unloading on Donald Trump, calling the Republican front-runner's campaign racist and saying his discourse on immigration is fueling anti-American sentiment around the world.
Calderon, a conservative who was president of Mexico from 2006 to 2012, even said he thought Trump was trying to exploit the same social feelings and resentments as did Adolf Hitler.
"I think his logic of exalting white supremacy isn't even acting against immigration — Donald Trump is the descendant of migrants — it is acting and speaking against immigrants who have a different skin color than him, which is frankly racist and is a bit like the exploitation of raw nerves that Hitler did in his day," Calderon told reporters after a meeting of the National Action Party, or PAN, in Mexico City.
Calderon's comments parallel those made earlier by former President Vicente Fox, who preceded Calderon in office and also belonged to the PAN party.
In interviews with Univision and Mexican media, Fox called Trump "crazy," a "false prophet" and an embarrassment to his party. When asked about Trump's assertion that he was going to get Mexico to pay for his proposed border wall, Fox used an explicative to make his point the country would never do so.
Trump said Fox ought to be "ashamed of himself" for his vulgarity and demanded an apology.
Trump has angered many Mexicans for his campaign rhetoric denigrating some immigrants as "rapists" who bring crime and drugs to the United States. Threats of mass deportations of Mexicans and other migrants illegally in the country, along with his promise to build a wall separating the nations, have added to the bad feelings.
Calderon said Trump's discourse is "sowing hate" against the United States around the world and this is not is Washington's interest.
During a visit to Mexico's capital, Vice President Joe Biden apologized for the inflammatory rhetoric about Mexico in the U.S. presidential campaign.
"Some of the rhetoric coming from some of the presidential candidates on the other team are I think dangerous, damaging and incredibly ill-advised," Biden said on Thursday. "But here's what I'm here to tell you: They do not, they do not, they do not represent the view of the vast majority of the American people."