Donald trump defends u.s. right to build a border wall during mexico visit
The buildup to the speech was abruptly interrupted Tuesday night by the news that Trump would visit Mexico, accepting on short notice an invitation offered last week by Pena Nieto. The newspaper El Universal wrote in an editorial that Trump “caught Mexican diplomats off guard.”
Campaigning in Ohio earlier in the day, Democrat Hillary Clinton jabbed at Trump's Mexican appearance as she promoted her own experience working with foreign leaders as the nation's chief diplomat.
“People have to get to know that they can count on you, that you won't say one thing one day and something totally different the next,” she told the American Legion in Cincinnati. “And it certainly takes more than trying to make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours and then flying home again.”
Trump has promised, if elected, to deport millions of immigrants who are in the United States illegally, force Mexico to pay for the construction of a wall to secure the nearly 2,000-mile border and renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement to make it more favorable to the United States.
Pena Nieto suggested there was room to improve the trade deal, which Trump described as unfair to American workers. The New York businessman promised to promote trade deals that would keep jobs in the Western Hemisphere.
Pena Nieto made his invitation to both Trump and Clinton, who met with him in Mexico in 2014. The inclusion of Trump puzzled many in Mexico, who said it wasn't clear why their own unpopular president would agree to meet with someone so widely disliked in his country.
Pena Nieto has been sharply critical of Trump's immigration policies, particularly the Republican's plans to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. In a March interview, he said that “there is no scenario” under which Mexico would do so and compared Trump's language to that of dictators Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Pena Nieto did not repeat such criticism on Wednesday, but acknowledged Trump's comments had “hurt and affected Mexicans.”
“The Mexicans deserve everyone's respect,” he said.
Aug. 31, 3:28 p.m. PT: Updated.