By Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times
Reversing a more diplomatic tone he set during a joint appearance with Donald Trump in the Mexican capital, President Enrique Peña Nieto called the Republican presidential candidate’s ideas a “threat to the future of Mexico.”
Peña Nieto’s hostile words came Wednesday night, hours after he met privately with Trump and shortly after the real estate mogul delivered an incendiary speech in Phoenix in which he repeatedly portrayed immigrants in the U.S. as dangerous criminals and vowed to force Mexico to pay for construction of a border wall.
Peña Nieto said Trump’s proposal to end free trade agreements and deport millions of immigrants are a danger to Mexico. “Imagine what that represents, and tell me it is not a risk to Mexico,” he said.
When the president appeared side by side with Trump after their meeting at his residence in Mexico City, Peña Nieto described the meeting as “open and constructive,” and said there had been “misunderstandings” about Trump’s comments about Mexicans in the past. They shook hands before they parted.
But in the interview with Televisa’s Denise Maerker on Wednesday night, Peña Nieto said Trump’s ideas were dangerous, and said he had invited Trump to Mexico precisely because of the danger the candidate would pose to Mexico if elected.
“I think this risk and threat must be addressed,” he said. “You have to face it head on.”