Senate Hearing on Donald Trump Border Wall construction on Mexico Border 4/4/17
Mexico’s president has hit back at Donald Trump’s decision to build a border wall, repeating that his country would not pay for it.
Hours after the US president ordered the construction of the wallbetween the two countries, President Enrique Pena Nieto condemned the decision and rejected Mr Trump’s avowals that Mexico would pay for it.
“I regret and reject the decision of the US to build the wall,” he said in a recorded address televised nationally. “I have said time and time again, Mexico will not pay for any wall.”
Mr Pena Nieto said he would await reports from the high-level team of Mexican officials currently meeting with Trump administration officials in Washington.
“Based on the final report from the Mexican officials who are in Washington right now … I will make decisions about what to do next,” Mr Pena Nieto said.
His foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, was more confident that it would go ahead. “The meeting between the two presidents in Washington next Tuesday is still confirmed,” Mr Videgaray said. “The meeting, for now, is going forward.”
After talking tough about the wall, he held out an olive branch, and said: “Mexico re-affirms its friendship with the people of the United States, and its willingness to reach agreements with its government.”
Critics of Mr Pena Nieto, whose approval ratings were just 12 per cent in a recent survey, the lowest for any Mexican president in the polling era, have hammered him for his perceived weakness on Mr Trump. Opposition politicians urged him on Wednesday to call off the trip.
“The position is very clear,” said Ricardo Anaya Cortes, president of the conservative opposition National Action Party. “Either one cancels the meeting with Donald Trump, or one attends it to say publicly and with absolute firmness that Mexico rejects the wall and we will not pay a single cent for it.”
Mr Trump’s order came the same day that Mexico’s foreign relations and economy secretaries arrived in Washington, and its timing was seen by many in Mexico as a slap in the face.
The US president issued the order as he launched broad but divisive plans to reshape US immigration and national security policy on Wednesday. In addition to ordering the construction of the wall, he also demanded punishment for cities shielding illegal immigrants and said he was mulling restoring a CIA secret detention programme.