Prior to his Friday meeting with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, President Trump said Mexico should “absolutely” pay for his proposed border wall.
The meeting between the two leaders is the first since Pena Nieto cancelled one scheduled in January during which the border wall was expected to be discussed.
Just before Trump’s meeting with Nieto in Germany, a reporter asked Trump if he still wanted Mexico to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border aimed at controlling the flow of illegal aliens into the country.
“Absolutely,” Trump said.
Mexico has contended that it will not pay for the wall.
Following the rocky start of the Trump administration’s relationship with Mexico, the president is working to forge a path forward on the North American Free Trade Agreement and drug-policy cooperation.
“We’ve all had a very successful day and a very interesting day. It’s great to be with my friend, the president of Mexico,” Trump said. “We’re negotiating NAFTA and some other things with Mexico. Let’s see how it all turns out. But I think we’ve made very good progress.”
Trump’s last meeting with Pena Nieto came in August 2016 during his presidential campaign. Pena Nieto cancelled their January session after Trump tweeted that “it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting” if Mexico remained unwilling to pay for the construction of a “badly needed” border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
In April, Trump threatened to terminate NAFTA, which he blames for U.S. job losses, but later withdrew from that stance and called for renegotiating aspects of the agreement with Mexico and Canada.
Bloomberg reported that “While maintaining a push to increase deportations, Trump has dialed back the frequency and intensity of his rhetoric over the border wall even as he continues to tell supporters at rallies that the wall will be built. Many Republicans in Congress remain skeptical of the proposal.”
At a June rally in Iowa, Trump proposed building a U.S.-Mexico border wall that includes solar panels, asserting that the wall could pay for itself by creating energy, thereby allowing Mexico to “pay much less.”
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