Trump and Peña Nieto discuss U.S.’s relationship with Mexico

Kaitlyn Steinhiser, Editor

Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, did not have to worry about getting past a wall quite yet when venturing across the Mexican/American border to meet with the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto about the shared future of both Mexico and the United States on August 31, 2016.

Peña Nieto sent invitations for meetings regarding the relationship between the countries to both Trump and the democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. Trump is the first and, therefore, only candidate to reply to this invitation, though Peña Nieto hopes to get a response from Clinton soon.

“Any close relationship needs to be visited and renewed from time to time. We always need to be open to discuss what has worked and what has has not. How can we improve things on both sides of the border? How can we clear misunderstandings and understand each other better?” said the Mexican president to justify the meetings during his press conference with Trump.

This press conference exposed the public to the topics discussed at the private meeting between the two political figures. Issues that Trump has with the North American Trade Agreement were brought up at the meeting, and Peña Nieto still disagrees. According to Trump, the agreement benefits the Mexico much more than it does the U.S. While he did not state that he wants to abandon the agreement, he did state that the U.S. “must take action to stem this tremendous outflow of jobs in [the US]. It is happening every day, it is getting worse and worse and worse, and we have to stop it.”

Peña Nieto, on the other hand, believes that NAFTA is equally beneficial to both countries. “I shared with Mr. Trump my conviction that the free trade of North America has done a lot of good to both the U.S. as well as Mexico. U.S. exports to Mexico are close to $200 billion a year. And according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, more than six million jobs in the U.S. rely on the exports to Mexico,” said Peña Nieto with conviction.

Border policy was also a hot topic at the meeting. In their speeches at the press conference, both political figures said that they want to keep the border safe. However, they both have different views on how they should do this. Trump obviously believes that “having a secure border is a sovereign right and mutually beneficial. [The United States] recognizes and respects the right of either country to build a physical barrier or wall on any of its borders to stop the illegal movement of people, drugs, and weapons.” While Peña Nieto agrees that the border needs to be controlled, he disagrees with Trump’s demand for a physical wall. According to Trump, the wall was “discussed,” but they did not discuss the “payment of the wall.”

President Peña Nieto has received a significant amount of political backlash due to his open invitation to Trump. Not-so coincidentally, Mexican finance minister, Luis Videgaray was recently removed from Peña Nieto’s cabinet. Despite the fact that Peña Nieto made positive comments about Videgaray’s impact on his cabinet, many are assuming he got let go due to his involvement with Donald Trump’s meeting.

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