“In the end, Mexico is going to pay for the wall,” the US president told supporters at a campaign-style rally in Nashville. “They do absolutely nothing to stop people from going through Mexico, from Honduras and all these other countries … They do nothing to help us.”
Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, swiftly responded on Twitter that his country will “never pay for a wall. Not now, not ever.” Mexico has long said it would not pay for a border wall and has chafed at Trump’s repeated insistence otherwise.
The president’s comments could threaten negotiations with Mexico over trade policy. Trump had vowed a revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) this year, but talks between the two countries and Canada have yet to produce a compromise.
The president nonetheless escalated his hardline stance on immigration on Tuesday, even as the Trump administration faces backlash for its policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border. Trump has blamed Democrats for the policy, despite his own administration publicly stating they would enforce a new “zero tolerance” plan to prosecute anyone who crosses the border illegally.