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News > Latin America

Trump Invited to Mexico to Calm Nervous Markets: Report

  • Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands at a press conference at the Los Pinos residence in Mexico City, Aug. 31, 2016.

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands at a press conference at the Los Pinos residence in Mexico City, Aug. 31, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 September 2016
Opinion

A report from Mexican newspaper Reforma said Mexico's finance minister pushed for the visit in order to assuage markets, nervous about a potential Trump victory.

Donald Trump's visit to Mexico this week was widely seen as a massive blunder for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, with many pundits asking, “What was he thinking?”

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The outcry was so loud that Peña Nieto was forced to respond during his annual state-of-the-nation speech Thursday.

"What was the president thinking? And the answer to that question would be: 'I was thinking about Mexico, I was thinking about Mexicans,'” said Peña Nieto.

However, a report from Mexican newspaper Reforma revealed that the president wasn't thinking about Mexicans but was instead concerned about the anxieties of the markets in light of a potential Trump victory in November.

According to Reforma's sources, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray pushed for President Peña Nieto to welcome Trump. Indeed it was Videgaray who greeted Trump at the airport upon landing in Mexico City.

Reforma reported that Videgaray wanted to send a signal to markets that a Trump victory would not spell doom for the Mexican economy. 

Aside from his racist comments about Mexicans, Trump has also flirted with the idea of abolishing the North American Free Trade Agreement, a move that would negatively impact Mexico's export-oriented manufacturing sector.

The visit was only confirmed after Peña Nieto and Videgaray met face-to-face, Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu was also consulted, though according to the paper she did not agree with a Trump visit. Officials from her office also told Reforma that they were not included in the planning of the visit.

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The alleged interest in assuaging markets likely explains the muted response by Peña Nieto and his refusal to confront Trump to his face.

Ultimately Peña Nieto looked weak next to Trump but then tried to portray himself as a champion of Mexican people saying the Republican presidential candidate presented a “huge threat” to the country just hours after painting a positive picture of talks the two held on Wednesday.

During a joint news conference after their meeting, Trump said he and Peña Nieto had not discussed his demand that Mexico pay for the border wall. But Peña Nieto later contradicted Trump, saying he had told the American that Mexico would not foot the bill.

After his visit to Mexico, Trump vowed that anyone who is in the United States illegally would be subject to deportation if he is elected, sticking with his hardline position after flirting with a softer approach.

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