As Trump Orders Border Wall, Mexico's President Mulls Canceling U.S. Trip | KERA News

As Trump Orders Border Wall, Mexico's President Mulls Canceling U.S. Trip

Jan 26, 2017
Originally published on January 26, 2017 9:09 am

Mexicans have reacted angrily to President Trump's executive order, which among many things directed the U.S. government to begin immediate construction of a border wall.

Mexican lawmakers are urging President Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel his scheduled visit to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 31.

Peña Nieto has not said whether he will cancel the meeting.

In a video released late Wednesday, Peña Nieto said he is waiting to hear from his high-level negotiators who are meeting with Trump administration officials in Washington.

Depending on their report, Peña Nieto said he will decide what to do next.

Speaking forcefully into the camera, Mexico's leader said he condemned the U.S. decision to build a wall, which he said divides instead of unites. "I have repeatedly said, 'Mexico will not pay for a wall,' " Peña Nieto said.

"He has to say that," Trump countered, speaking in his first extended television interview as president. "But I'm just telling you there will be a payment."

In the interview, which aired on ABC News on Wednesday night, he insisted Mexico will pay, maybe in a "complicated way, but they will pay." The executive order signed by Trump on Wednesday was written in a way that may allow the new administration to restrict aid to Mexico.

Mexican Sen. Armando Ríos Piter, of the opposition leftist party PRD, says enough is enough. He wants President Peña Nieto to stand up to these threats and insults and call it what it is.

"It's a hostile act, it's an unfriendly act and that's how we are going to start saying it all over the world," Ríos said.

During comments on Wednesday, Trump did emphasize several times the importance of helping Mexico maintain a strong economy.

That appears to have helped the flagging Mexican peso, which has taken a dive following every tweet and announcement from Trump since his election.

On Wednesday, it gained more than 2 percent against the U.S. dollar.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, in early-morning tweets today, President Donald Trump raised the stakes on his plan to get Mexico to pay for a border wall. Trump said that if Mexico was not willing to pay for that wall, Mexico's president should cancel his trip to Washington, D.C. next week. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: President Enrique Pena Nieto's office didn't have an immediate response to the latest provocation by President Trump. Lawmakers here have been urging the president to cancel his meeting in Washington next Tuesday. Late last night, Pena Nieto released a video saying he's waiting to hear how meetings have gone so far this week between his high-level negotiating team and U.S. administration officials. Depending on their report, Pena Nieto said he will decide what to do next. Speaking forcefully into the camera, he says he condemns the U.S.'s decision to build a wall, which divides instead of unites.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

PRESIDENT ENRIQUE PENA NIETO: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "I have repeatedly said Mexico will not pay for a wall," said Pena Nieto.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He has to say that, but I'm just telling you there will be a payment.

KAHN: In President Trump's first interview on ABC News, he insisted Mexico will pay, maybe in a, quote, "complicated way, but they will pay," said Trump. In one of his executive orders signed yesterday, it was written in a way that may allow the new administration to restrict aid to Mexico. Mexican Senator Armando Rios Piter, of the opposition leftist party PRD, says enough is enough. He wants President Pena Nieto to stand up to these threats and insults and call it what it is.

ARMANDO RIOS PITER: It's a hostile act. It's an unfriendly act. That's the way we are going to start saying it all over the world.

KAHN: Trump did emphasize several times the importance of helping Mexico maintain a strong economy during his border security speech. That appears to have helped the flagging Mexican peso, which has taken a dive following every tweet and announcement from Trump since his election. Yesterday, the peso gained more than 2 percent against the dollar. Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City.

(SOUNDBITE OF RODRIGO Y GABRIELA SONG, "SUNDAY NEUROSIS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.