Trump “Absolutely” Still Wants Mexico to Pay for Border Wall
President Donald Trump had his first meeting with many world leaders at the G20 summit this past Friday.
In addition to a high-profile face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin amidst ongoing investigations and media coverage into the extent of the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia, the president also had his first meeting since the election with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Although members of the media were not permitted in the closed-door meeting, President Trump angered some Mexican officials with his response to a reporter’s question just prior to the talks. Asked whether he still wanted Mexico to pay for his proposed border wall – a key component of his 2016 campaign platform – the president replied, “Absolutely.”
Peña Nieto has repeatedly insisted that Mexico will not pay for a border wall and did not publicly respond to the comment. But Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said the wall “was not part of the conversation. That’s what we had agreed to, and that’s how it was.”
The bulk of the meeting reportedly focused on NAFTA, which President Trump had slammed during his campaign as a terrible deal he was inclined to pull out of. He has since softened his stance, calling merely for a “total renegotiation” of the deal, stating in his weekly radio address, "If we don't get it, we will terminate, that is, end, NAFTA forever."
Despite the contentious subject matter at-hand, both presidents were congenial in their opening remarks, with President Peña Nieto calling for ongoing dialog "for the security of both nations, especially for our borders" and President Trump claiming he had made “very good progress” in negotiating “some other things with Mexico,” aside from NAFTA, and referring to Peña Nieto as a “friend.”
Thus far, despite how heavily the campaign focused on the border wall, actual progress has been both slow and smaller in scope than initially promised, with Congress often reticent to provide the considerable funding necessary, and representatives of the Administration seemingly walking back some of the promises made by the campaign. Notably, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has testified before Congress that there will not be a wall “from sea to shining sea,” contrary to suggestions that a wall would span the entire southern border.
Posted in General News