When then-candidate Donald Trump was proposing a border wall, then-Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu called it “impractical” and “wrong.” Ruiz Massieu is no longer Mexico’s foreign minister, and the new man in the role, Luis Videgaray, has come to accept Trump’s border wall.
“It is impossible to think of a 2,000-mile border being walled off and trade between our two countries stopped,” Ruiz Massieu said last February. “It is impractical, inefficient, wrong and, frankly, it is not an intelligent thing to do.”
Foreign Minister Videgaray said in an appearance on MSNBC Thursday that it’s “very clear from the president himself” that the wall is going to be built. The Mexican foreign minister added that he acknowledges “that the US as a sovereign nation like any other sovereign nation has a right to protect its borders the way the country best thinks it.”
Videgaray said that Mexico doesn’t “like the idea of a border wall,” “but it’s not for us to decide.”
Less than a week after taking office, President Trump signed an executive order calling for the construction of a southern border wall. “A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the U.S. gets back control of its borders,” Trump said in a speech at the Department of Homeland Security.
He added that the wall will benefit both the U.S. and Mexico, and that he “truly” believes that “we can enhance the relation between our two nations to a degree not seen before, certainly in a very, very long time.” The Washington Post reported Friday that Videgaray had a role in writing this speech.
The Post story details that the same day Trump would deliver the speech, Videgaray met with Trump in an unscheduled meeting arranged by Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. At that meeting the two men reportedly made their case for Trump to soften his language on Mexico, and the president agreed.
While Videgaray has come to accept the wall’s construction, him and the rest of Mexico’s leaders continue to say that their nation will not pay for the border wall. On the other hand, President Trump maintains that Mexico will indeed pay.