on Friday said he "absolutely" intends for Mexico to pay for the controversial
wall he wants to build along the United States' southern border, setting off a
furor in Mexico over a goal his own administration has largely abandoned.
Group of 20 summit here, amid sharp disagreements over trade and immigration.
Some officials had hoped the brief encounter could help heal badly strained
relations between the two neighbors.
words set off a furious reaction in Mexico City.
further discussion of the wall in the private talks that followed, Mexican officials
Videgaray said in a news conference here. “That’s what we had agreed to, and
that’s how it was.”
officials were privately angry that Trump responded the way he did. The president
easily could have ignored the question, one Mexican official said. A little more
than an hour after the meeting with the Mexican delegation, Trump ignored
reporters’ questions at the opening of his meeting with Russian President
what his administration actually has done. In March, the administration asked
Congress for $4.1 billion to begin construction on additional border fencing
and walls, conceding that Mexico would not be paying for it.
told reporters when asked who would pay for the wall. So far, that request has
met with a chilly reception on Capitol Hill.
does not intend to build a wall along the full length of the border, the way Trump
often has described it. There are already about 600 miles of wall, fencing or other
blocking constructions along the 2,000-mile border, which traverses rivers,
desert and hilly terrain.
would be no wall “from sea to shining sea,” and officials have said the focus
will be on additional border fortifications in or near urban areas, most likely
more fences than walls.
1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump initially panned
as a terrible deal for the United States and threatened to pull out of, but now
says he is willing to re-negotiate.
by the end of the year. (Mexico prefers to use the word “modernize” rather than
“re-negotiate.”) Canada is also a signatory.
Trump angrily denounced countries that have "gotten rich" by destroying
American jobs, and called for a "total re-negotiation" of NAFTA, once again
saying something in public that goes well beyond what his administration has
farm jobs for temporary workers, a program that has existed for decades and
allows thousands of Mexicans annually to travel to the United States legally to
plant and harvest crops. Mexico has worried that the workers might get caught
up in the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce immigration.
delivered prepared statements.
I think we've made very good progress," he said.
countries continue a "flowing dialog" especially "for the security of both nations,
especially for our borders."
added that "it is the co-responsibility to deal with organized-crime issues."
emphasis was on NAFTA. The White House said after the meeting that the two
presidents also discussed “regional challenges, including drug trafficking, illegal migration, and the crisis in Venezuela.”
and characterized many Mexicans as rapists and criminals who should be kept
out of the U.S. Opposition to Mexican immigration to the U.S. became a hallmark
of his campaign.
Mexico is nevertheless one of the United States' largest trading partners, shares
long and strong cultural ties and enjoyed relatively good diplomatic relations
and security cooperation with Washington before Trump took office.
Mexico City in a visit that many Mexicans saw as disastrous. Trump contradicted
Peña Nieto on the wall and seized control of a news conference, calling on
American reporters and ignoring the Mexicans as the Mexican president looked
threatened to impose a tax on Mexican imports to pay for the wall.
one, according to an official account that became public, Trump suggested that
he'd send U.S. troops to Mexico to fight drug traffickers if Mexico's army didn't
step up. Nothing could be more anathema to Mexicans' sense of sovereignty and nationalism.
be a chance to reset the two governments' troubled relations. One prominent
newspaper, El Financiero, said talking to Trump is a "conversation with a deaf
governments are working more closely. Videgaray sustains a close relationship
with presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson and Kelly have traveled to Mexico City several times and received their counterparts in Washington.