A week after acknowledging some of his constituents are anxious and perplexed over the election of Donald Trump, the mayor of Laredo has sent a congratulatory note to the president-elect and offered to meet with him to discuss trade and other border issues in Washington.
“We wish you every success as our new leader and we look forward to hearing from you or your administrative team to confirm a date and time to meet when we are in Washington,” wrote mayor Pete Saenz and city manager Jesus Olivares.
The officials were quick to note in their letter that the Laredo customs district is the country’s busiest inland port and traded more than $284 billion in goods with the rest of the world in 2015.
During his campaign for the White House Trump repeatedly called the North American Free Trade Agreement a horrible deal that ships American jobs overseas and promised to repeal or renegotiate it when elected.
Trump has also stoked fear in some border communities after promising to conduct mass deportations and build a wall between the United States and Mexico and obligate Mexico to pay for its construction.
Last week in an interview with the Tribune, Saenz said there was a sense of anxiety in his city but held out hope that Trump’s tough talk on border issues was just campaign rhetoric.
“As we know when we run for office — and we see it more so in presidents — they change their tune and tone, and we’re hoping that’s more the case and he’s more receptive,” Saenz said.
The mayor fielded plenty of criticism last year after he hosted Trump on what the candidate dubbed a “dangerous” trip to the border. But Saenz said he saw a different side of the New York billionaire he hoped would follow him to the White House.
“He sounded very cordial [during his acceptance speech], very humble, very presidential in my humble opinion, and I’ve seen that side of president-elect Trump and I am hoping that will continue," he said.