Wed | Aug 23, 2017

President says people hurt by Trump comments

Published:Thursday | September 1, 2016 | 9:00 AM
Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shake hands after a joint statement at Los Pinos, the president’s residence, in Mexico City, yesterday.

MEXICO CITY (AP):

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto says the Mexican people have been hurt by Donald Trump's past comments that painted them in a negative light.

Peña Nieto told reporters following a closed-door meeting that "misinterpretation or assertions" had negatively impacted perceptions of Trump's candidacy.

Standing alongside the president of Mexico, a measured Donald Trump defended the right of the United States to build a massive border wall along its southern flank, but he declined to repeat his frequent promise to force Mexico to pay for it.

Trump, who is widely despised across Mexico, also sidestepped his repeated criticism of Mexican immigrants following a closed-door meeting at the official residence of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump and Peña Nieto, who has compared the New York billionaire to Adolf Hitler, addressed reporters from adjacent podiums flanked by a Mexican flag.

"We did discus the wall. We didn't discuss payment of the wall," Trump said.

In his announcement of his presidential candidacy last year, Trump derided Mexico as a source of rapists and criminals coming to the US, and his presence yesterday sparked anger and protests across the capital city.

"We don't like him. We don't want him. We reject his visit," former President Vicente Fox told CNN, calling the trip a "political stunt".

Peña Nieto was less combative as he addressed reporters alongside Trump. He acknowledged the two men had differences, but he described their conversation as "open and constructive". They shook hands as the session ended.