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Media 090516 EPN-Trump

Monday, September 5, 2016

Why did I meet with Donald Trump?

Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico

(Transcript; translation by Presidency of the Republic)

The Mexican government has closely observed the US electoral process, with total respect. Both candidates have the possibility of occupying the US presidency and it is my responsibility, as president, to work with whoever is elected.

Dialogue is a basic principle of democracy, which is why I invited both candidates to a meeting to discuss our bilateral relations. This explains the presence of Mr. Trump, who was the first to accept the invitation, in Mexico.

It is important to meet up with both candidates, particularly so with Mr. Trump, because there are things he should find out from the Mexican president, beginning with Mexicans’ views. That is why I informed him of three things during our meeting.

First of all, I was very clear – in public and private – that in Mexico we feel offended and hurt by his statements about Mexicans. I said that we deserve respect, are honest, hard-working people and value the family and the culture of effort. Mexico and the United States are more than neighbors: we are partners and allies. In his campaign speeches, Trump has not treated us as partners or allies, instead offering a distorted view of Mexico and its people.  That is why it was important to talk to him and clarify the fact that any future collaboration to strengthen relations between both countries must be based on mutual respect. Donald Trump’s reaction was positive. I am convinced that the greater the differences, the more we need dialogue.

Secondly, it was essential to convey Mexico’s importance for the United States. For Mr. Trump to know that every day, over a million people and 400,000 vehicles cross the border. That trade between the two countries exceeds US$500 billion a year. The Mexican economy is closely linked to the US economy. If the United States does well, so does Mexico. The United States exports over US$200 billion to Mexico, and over six million US jobs depend on these exports.

And third, I told him that the border is a joint challenge that calls for a jointly responsible approach. Weapons and millions of dollars come in from the US to strengthen criminal organizations. These weapons and that money, the result of the cartels’ earnings from drug use in the United States, create violence in our country and must be stopped.

I was very clear about the border in my conversation with Trump: Mexico will not pay for a wall.

“My priority as president is to protect Mexicans, promote their rights and defend their lives and dignity wherever they are.” That is my main responsibility. Wherever there is a Mexican who needs support from his government, we’ll be there.

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Presidency of the Republic, Sep. 1, 2016, Mexico, DF

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