Mexican president rejects Trump’s border wall — and says he won’t pay for it – Los Angeles Times
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he rejects and condemns U.S. President Trump’s plan to immediately begin construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a televised address Wednesday night, Peña Nieto said Mexico “does not believe in walls.” His voice rising, Peña Nieto repeated his promise that Mexico “will not pay” for construction of a border barrier.
Peña Nieto is facing considerable pressure from other Mexican leaders to boycott a planned meeting with Trump in Washington next week.
On Wednesday, Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security to begin building a wall along stretches of the southern border where a barrier does not already exist.
In what political analysts and many Mexicans viewed as a stinging insult , the order came the same day that Mexico’s foreign secretary, Luis Videgaray, arrived in Washington for talks with White House officials on trade and other issues ahead of Peña Nieto’s planned visit.
In his address, Peña Nieto didn’t say whether he planned to attend the meeting, saying he would make that decision after consulting with Videgaray and the delegation of officials currently in Washington.
Peña Nieto, who has repeatedly called for dialogue with Trump, left a door open for attending the meeting, saying he feels a “responsibility to defend and take care of the interests of Mexico and Mexicans.”
“It is my duty to address the problems and to face the challenges,” he said.
Dozens of Mexican leaders have called on Peña Nieto to cancel his trip, saying Trump’s bold actions on the border wall prove he is not interested in dialogue.
Ricardo Anaya, president of the opposition National Action Party, or PAN, said the timing of Trump’s announcement just before Peña Nieto’s visit to the U.S. “is an insult.”
“There are no conditions for a meeting with Trump,” he said.