neighborly disputes

Once Again, Mexico Reminds Donald Trump That It Won’t Be Paying for That Border Wall

Mexican press: “No Y No.” Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

It’s getting to be somewhat of a tired bit: President-elect Donald Trump insists Mexico is going to pay for his big, beautiful “not a fence” border wall, and Mexico quickly fires back with a big, beautiful “nope.”

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said, bluntly, on Wednesday that “of course” Mexico is not going to pay for the border wall with the United States. Nieto, who was speaking at a meeting of Mexican ambassadors, added that he would never accept a policy that went against “our dignity as Mexicans.”

Trump has, of course, slightly tweaked the language on his plan — saying the United States will begin building the wall, and then Mexico will reimburse its neighbor for the cost after construction has started. “I could wait about a year and half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get to office,” Trump told reporters at his press conference Wednesday, “but I don’t want to wait.” Trump’s plan for how to get Mexico to pay, according to Trump, could come in “many different forms.” He explained, “whether it’s a tax or a payment — probably less likely that it’s a payment — but it will happen.”

Which is all very different from Nieto’s “of course” Mexico will not pay for that wall. Even if the wall is a nonstarter, Nieto did say that Mexico was going to work to have a good relationship with President Trump, which is the more diplomatic equivalent of the next U.S. president’s “by the way, Mexico, so nice. So nice. I respect the government of Mexico. I respect the people of Mexico. I love the people of Mexico. I have many people from Mexico working for me, they’re phenomenal people.”

Mexico Reminds Trump It Won’t Be Paying for That Border Wall