Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who made the banning of illegal immigrants from Mexico a pivotal part of his campaign, had a meeting with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto Wednesday.
Trump has made disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants and vowed to make Mexico pay for the U.S.-Mexico border.
He said the issue was not discussed in their meeting. However, Peña Nieto later tweeted, saying, “At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall.”
Enrique Pena Nieto, Donald Trump meeting: ‘Mexico won’t pay for the wall’
As reported by the Associated Press, Peña Nieto said the people of Mexico felt “aggrieved” about the remarks regarding the U.S.-Mexico border. According to Trump spokesman Jason Miller, the meeting “was not a negotiation.”
“It is unsurprising that they hold two different views on this issue, and we look forward to continuing the conversation,” Miller said.
Meanwhile, Peña Nieto spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said that the Mexican president told Trump, “Mexico won’t pay for the wall.”
While Trump referred to Mexican Americans as “spectacular” and “amazing,” not everyone viewed the meeting as a success. One of these was Mexico security analyst Alejandro Hope, who said the meeting was “a disaster.”
“Trump didn’t alter his positions one little bit,” Hope said. “He just dressed them up a little in less incendiary language.” Peña Nieto “gave Trump an opportunity to show off, while getting nothing in return,” Hope added. “Good work, guys.”
Enrique Pena Nieto, Donald Trump meeting: Invitation ‘a bad move for Mexico’
Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon called Trump a hypocrite and a liar at a news conference, the Washington Post reports. Calderon cited Trump’s contradicting statements, asking if Mexicans are rapists, as the Republican presidential nominee had said last year, or “wonderful, marvelous hard working people,” as he had said in the recent meeting.
“I don’t believe in him,” Calderon said. “I think he’s lying.”
Trump said the meeting was “substantive, direct and [a] constructive exchange of ideas over quite a period of time.”
“I was straightforward in presenting my views about the impacts of current trade and immigration policies on the United States,” Trump said.
Peña Nieto’s invitation to Trump for a personal visit came as a shock to the people of Mexico. According to Calderon, the invitation “was a very bad move for Mexico. . . . It was completely unnecessary and inconvenient.”