The meeting in Washington took place just hours after Trump, who Peña Nieto compared to Hitler, accepted the Republican presidential nomination.
Presidents Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto didn’t let human rights and violence in Mexico get in the way of celebrating their two nations’ strong political and economic ties.
Claiming to have a “strong trade partnership,” Peña Nieto met with Obama Friday in Washington to formalize U.S.-Mexico economic and security initiatives reached in the past three years in order to ensure they stay in force regardless of who will be the next U.S. president in 2017, the Mexican government said.
In a joint press conference, Obama praised Mexico as a “critical partner” and said the relationship created between the two countries through NAFTA will be reflected in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that both countries have signed. However, consipicuously missing from the conversation was any mention of state violence in Oaxaca, the disappareance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students, or the overall deteriorating human rights situation in Mexico.
The meeting took place hours after Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Peña Nieto has slammed on Trump’s negative comments toward Mexicans, including when he said “they bring drugs and crime to the U.S.,” while also calling them “rapists.” The Mexican leader believes these words have damaged relationships between the two countries and has also compared the Republican candidate’s rhetoric to that of Hitler and Mussolini.
But despite the fact that Peña Nieto does not hide his disdain for Trump and his planned policies toward Mexico, he has assured that his government will work with whoever succeeds Obama in January and also said he will respect the democratic process in the United States, as their citizens will elect a new president next November.
When he announced his presidential campaign last summer, Trump pledged to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it – something the Mexican government said is impossible.
For his part Obama dismissed Trump’s depiction of the United States as a nation in deep crisis as wrong and not the experience of ordinary U.S. citizens.
This is Peña Nieto’s second official visit to Washington and it comes less than a month after he and Obama met in Canada during a summit of North America’s leaders.
The agenda of the meeting also included economic issues, border security, drug trafficking, climate change, and assistance to Mexicans in the U.S.