Mexico City: Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto has cancelled his planned meeting with U.S. President Trump over disagreements over who would pay for construction of a border wall.
In a tweet, Peña Nieto said his government informed the White House on Thursday morning that the meeting in Washington, planned for next Tuesday, is off.
The Mexican president’s announcement comes after President Trump warned him on Twitter early Thursday morning to stay home and skip the meeting unless Mexico is willing to fund construction of a wall.
While a president candidate, Trump repeatedly said he would build a border wall — and force Mexico to pay for it. Peña Nieto has repeatedly said Mexico has no intention of paying for a wall, and said so again in a televised address Wednesday night.
Peña Nieto was already facing pressure to boycott the meeting after Trump signed an executive order Wednesday calling for immediate construction of a border barrier. Many Mexicans viewed the timing of the announcement as a stinging insult, since it came the same day that a delegation of top Mexican officials arrived in Washington.
While earlier in the week, some Mexican politicans and political analysts were insisting Peña Nieto had to go to Washington for the sake of diplomacy, reaction to Trump’s tweets on Thursday was remarkably consistent.
Enrique Krauze, a noted political analyst, said Peña Nieto should distance himself from the new U.S. president. “Trump is a madman who will probably destroy himself,” he tweeted. “You have to gain time with patience, strength and dignity.”
“The uncertainty is over,” tweeted Javier Lozano, a PAN Senator. “It is confirmed that we will have to deal with an arrogant and ignorant despot in the USA.”
He had a message for the Mexican political class, even those of different ideological strips. “Close ranks in the face of the tyrant and let us move forward united and firm.”