Donald Trump told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto he would build a border wall to keep illegal migrants out if he wins the US presidency, but Peña Nieto held fast to his position that Mexico would not pay for it.
Contradicting Trump’s assertion that the pair did not discuss who would pay for his proposed wall, Peña Nieto said after the departure of the Republican presidential candidate that he told him during their private meeting in Mexico City that his government would not pick up the bill, Reuters reports.
“At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall,” Peña Nieto said in a tweet after not mentioning the issue during their joint news conference.
Trump gave a different account of the conversation, which was aimed at repairing relations damaged by the real estate mogul’s attacks on Mexico and migrant workers on the campaign trail.
“We did discuss the wall, we didn’t discuss payment of the wall, that will be at a later date, this was a very preliminary meeting. It was an excellent meeting,” Trump said.
Many Mexicans were furious about Trump’s visit, deeply offended by how Trump has labeled Mexicans as rapists and drug traffickers, and wanted an apology. That did not come.
Even in private, Trump did not apologize to Peña Nieto, presidential spokesman Eduardo Sanchez told Reuters.
At a joint press conference, Peña Nieto said Mexicans had been hurt by some of Trump’s previous comments but he believed he now genuinely wanted to build relations, BBC News reported.
For his part, Trump called Mexicans “amazing” and “spectacular” people, in contrast to earlier comments branding Mexican migrants “rapists” and “murderers”.
Trump is trailing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in opinion polls for the Nov. 8 election.
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