One of the most shocking moments of the 2016 election was when former Mexican president Vicente Fox unleashed a profane tirade against Trump for his plans to build a wall on the border and make his country pay for it, prompting Trump to respond as he is known to do to his critics. Now, it appears that the nation’s sitting president, Enrique Pena Nieto, has entered the fray, lambasting President Trump’s recently-unveiled plan to begin construction on the wall and demanding that he “respect” Mexico:
“I regret and reproach the decision of the United States to build a wall that for many years, far from uniting us, has divided us. Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said it many times before — Mexico will not pay for a wall,” he said.
Peña Nieto also highlighted Trump’s pledge to control migration into the U.S., reassuring Mexicans that their government will offer the protection Mexican immigrants require when they are in the United States. “I’ve ordered the Secretary of Exterior Affairs to reinforce the safety measures for our co-nationals. The 50 Mexican embassies will become authentic legal defense for immigrants,” Peña Nieto added.
He referenced the unfortunate timing of the executive orders, which came on the same day Mexican officials were in talks with the Trump administration in Washington, D.C., in a negotiation that is “very important for the strength, security, and future” of Mexico.”
“As President of the Republic, I take on the full responsibility of defending and watching over the interests of Mexico and its people,” he said.
“Mexico offers and demands respect, like the completely sovereign nation that we are. Mexico extends its friendship with the American people and their will to reach agreements with their government, agreements that will be in favor of Mexico and its people,” he concluded.
Peña Nieto’s statement came less than an hour prior to a pre-taped appearance by Trump on ABC where he once again insisted that Mexico would pay for a border wall.
“All it is is, we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we’d make from Mexico,” he said. “We’re gonna be starting those negotiations relatively soon, and we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico, which I’ve always said.”
The president also laid out a potential timeline for the construction of the wall, saying it would only take “months.”
“I would say in months, yeah. I would say in months,” he said of the building process. “Certainly, planning is starting immediately.”