Mexico’s President to Trump: ‘I Will Not Attend’ Scheduled Meeting
By NBC News
by HALIMAH ABDULLAH and SUZANNE GAMBOA
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has scrapped an upcoming meeting with President Donald Trump in the wake of a fiery back-and-forth over which nation will pay for a border wall between the two nations.
"This morning we informed the White House that I will not attend the business meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the @POTUS," Nieto tweeted.
Trump tweeted earlier Thursday that if Mexico refused to pay for the wall it might be best to scrap their upcoming meeting.
"The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers...," Trump tweeted. "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."
Trump's comments were the latest in an increasingly tense back-and-forth. Nieto on Wednesday reiterated that "Mexico will not pay for any wall."
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox in a video posted on Twitter implored Trump to rethink his position.
"Paisanos, @realDonaldTrump's reaction is one of fear," Fox wrote. "He's seen that México stands together and it's strong. Don't mess with us!"
A day earlier Trump, as he was unveiling his executive orders for ramped up immigration arrests and deportation and the border wall, threw in some praise for Mexico and Mexicans and declaring that the crisis on the border was due to a surge in Central Americans. During the presidential campaign, Trump's inflammatory rhetoric included calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" and accusing them of "bringing crime."
But Trump has also been threatening to reopen NAFTA, the trade agreement between Mexico, Canada and the U.S., to get a "better deal." He made that along with other trade deals the culprit for manufacturing job losses and other economic ills in the U.S.
Nieto had expressed interest in exploring the renegotiation of the 1994 agreement that predates advances in social media, telecommunications and other industries, to modernize it.
But facing some pressure at home and clearly disliking the orders from Trump, Nieto said in Spanish in a video posted on social media that Trump's wall was dividing the two nations.
He had said would be speaking with elected officials and Mexico Cabinet members about the meeting.
Jon Farela, CEO of the Borderplex Alliance, a businees border development group, spent this week, speaking and visiting with members of Congress to provide evidence of how NAFTA has benefited both counties and areas for improvement.
"The quickest and surest way to destabilize the border is to remove jobs and hope because people will always find ways to provide for their families," said Farela, a conservative Republican and former New Mexico secretary of economic development who narrowly lost a congressional race in Albuquerque.