Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday dismissed criticism that he received regarding the invitation he sent to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
President Pena Nieto said the ultimate aim behind the meeting was to confront the views of the U.S. candidate, especially those that reflect a sort of threat, including his promise to deport millions of Mexican immigrants illegally living in the U.S., cancel the NAFTA free-trade agreement and build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.
“I am convinced that we must confront the problems, threats and risks facing Mexico,” he said during an interview broadcast Wednesday night on the television channel Televisa.
His remarks came after the billionaire real estate tycoon delivered a fiery anti-immigration speech in Arizona Wednesday following his visit to Mexico earlier in the day, when he had struck a more measured tone.
During the Arizona speech, Trump took a dim view all those who crossed into the United States illegally and said he needed to leave and then apply for re-entry, after saying a week ago that they were “great people” who had lived in the country for years and contributed to American society.
Trump also repeated his vow to make Mexico pay for a wall on the border, although the Mexican president stated that issue of the wall was addressed during the meeting and that he was very clear and emphatic that Mexico would not pay for such a wall.
Among Pena Nieto’s critics this week, the country’s former president Vicente Fox tweeted, “Trump not welcome in Mexico, not by me nor the 130 million Mexicans.”