MEXICO CITY (AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz has accused Mexico of “undermining the rule of law,” and Mexico's government shot back on Friday, saying at least candidates in Mexico concede defeat when they lose elections.
The exchange came after the Republican from Texas claimed earlier this week there was “deepening civil unrest in Mexico and the breakdown there of civil society, the breakdown of the rule of law.” Cruz was referring to recent killings of journalists and politicians in Mexico.
Responding in a letter to Cruz late Thursday, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States wrote, “I invite you to look at what happened in our national election."
“Without exception, all of the political parties accepted the results and got on with the task of strengthening our democracy and freedom of expression,” Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma wrote.
That was a clear reference to Sen. Cruz's actions after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, that left several people dead in the immediate aftermath, hundreds facing charges and millions of dollars in property damage.
Cruz was one of a handful of GOP senators who continued to champion former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud even after the riot, and court rejections of repeated challenges. Cruz voted against certifying the election results that night and said he has no second thoughts about that vote.
Cruz is no stranger to controversies involving Mexico.
Cruz was criticized for taking his family to the Mexican resort of Cancun in February 2021 while millions of Texans shivered in unheated homes after severe winter weather battered his state.
He cut short the Cancun trip after images circulated of him waiting at a Houston airport for his flight to the resort town. Millions of Texans had lost heat and running water and at least 40 people in Texas died as a result of the storm. Cruz later said the trip was a mistake.
Mexico's President Andés Manuel López Obrador, himself hasn't always accepted official results.
When official vote counts showed he lost the presidency in 2006 — albeit by a vastly narrower margin than did Trump in 2020 — he rallied supporters to block a major Mexico City boulevard for weeks and staged an inauguration of himself as “legitimate president.”
He accepted a clearer loss in 2012 and won the presidency by a wide margin in 2018.
López Obrador brushed off Cruz's criticism Friday, saying “it is to be expected” given the political differences between the two.
“If he praised me, I might start thinking we weren't doing things right,” López Obrador said. “But if he says we are wrong, well that for me is something to be proud of.”