Donald Trump suggests that the cancellation of the meeting is for the best, considering Mexico's refusal to pay for his wall.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has cancelled a meeting with US President Donald Trump that had been scheduled next week. He announced the cancellation of the meeting on Twitter earlier today. A few hours before Peña Nieto's tweet, Trump had hinted at calling off the meeting with his own tweets, writing, "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."
Esta mañana hemos informado a la Casa Blanca que no asistiré a la reunión de trabajo programada para el próximo martes con el @POTUS.— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) January 26, 2017
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...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
The decision comes a day after Trump signed two executive orders that follow up on his campaign promises to build a wall between the US and Mexico and to become more stringent on illegal immigration. Yesterday, he ordered the onset of the construction of the wall and called for an increase in border patrol forces as well as immigration officers who will oversee deportations, reports CNN. The orders also included a new set of criteria regarding those immigrants who will be sought out for deportation.
The executive orders look to make the status of undocumented immigrants across the country increasingly tenuous. Trump also ordered that sanctuary cities -- where illegal immigrants are protected against certain immigration laws -- be stripped of federal funding.
Throughout his campaign, Trump suggested that Mexico would pay for the wall that was such a major part of his platform. Trump met with Peña Nieto during the campaign, and they discussed the wall, which earned the Mexican president much criticism in his country. Still, Peña Nieto reaffirmed that Mexico would not be funding the wall, as after their meeting, he tweeted, "At the start of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall."
After that meeting, Trump maintained that Mexico would help pay for the wall, though his recent executive orders suggest he is willing to go ahead with construction funded by US taxpayer money. Last night, in a video Twitter message that has been translated by CNN, Peña Nieto said, "Mexico does not believe in walls. I've said time again; Mexico will not pay for any wall."
Un mensaje para todos los mexicanos: pic.twitter.com/EFcNh7fQtm— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) January 26, 2017
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that the wall will cost $12-$15 billion.
Tensions have been sharp between Trump and the Mexican government during much of his rise to political prominence. He drew outrage from Peña Nieto's administration when he suggested that many of the immigrants coming from Mexico are criminals and rapists. Their meeting in August was in part an attempt to reconcile the vitriol that resulted from Trump's controversial remarks. With the cancellation of next week's meeting, relations between the two leaders seem to be as strained as ever.