Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced Thursday he has canceled a meeting with Donald Trump in an increasing war of words over building a border wall.
Nieto’s cancellation came just hours after Trump tweeted that the highly anticipated meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, should be scrapped if Mexico refuses to pay for a massive wall along the U.S. border.
The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
That country’s leader also took to Twitter Thursday, saying, “This morning we have informed the White House I will not be attend the working meeting planned for next Tuesday.”
The growing impasse between the two countries is indicative of Trump’s aggressive stance against America’s southern neighbor. In his first week in office, Trump signed executive orders directing construction of the wall and increasing border patrol forces and immigration officers who conduct deportations.
A stern-looking Nieto had addressed his country Wednesday night on national television. “I regret and reject the decision of the U.S. to build the wall,” the president said. “I have said time and time again, Mexico will not pay for any wall.”
While addressing a Republican group in Philadelphia Thursday afternoon, Trump doubled down on his promise to erect a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, at the latter country’s expense.
“The American people will not pay for the wall,” Trump said. He said he agreed with Nieto about canceling their planned in-person conversation.
“Such a meeting would be fruitless,” he said. As he spoke, thousands of protesters demonstrated outside the GOP retreat in downtown Philadelphia.
The crowd is wrapping halfway around City Hall. Beginning of the march is just past Broad on S Penn Square pic.twitter.com/UBzRZxrUk6— Aubrey Whelan (@aubreyjwhelan) January 26, 2017