Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto just called Donald Trump’s bluff over the Mexican wall, and it was a beautiful thing to behold. Early Thursday morning, Trump tweeted that he was considering canceling a visit with Pena Nieto over a disagreement about who will pay for Trump’s beloved wall.
“If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”
At the time of Trump’s tweet, top officials from Mexico were already in Washington D.C. to meet with the new president and Pena Nieto was waiting for a report from them before making a decision on how to proceed next. Evidently, the Mexican officials’ meeting with him must not have gone well. Later Thursday morning, President Pena Nieto announced he was canceling the meeting that was set to occur next Tuesday.
Mexican Pres. Enrique Pena Nieto says he will not attend a planned Jan. 31 meeting with President Donald J. Trumphttps://t.co/1BKOFCkU6x
— WKYT (@WKYT) January 26, 2017
Pena Nieto released a tweet about his decision.
“This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the POTUS.”
According to CNN, Pena Nieto explained his decision in a video statement, which was translated from Spanish.
“Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said time [and] again; Mexico will not pay for any wall.”
In another move against Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, Pena Nieto ordered the 50 Mexican consulates in the United States to offer human rights protections to Mexican citizens currently in the country. He also extended an olive branch to U.S. citizens.
“Mexico offers its friendship to the people of the United States and expresses its wish to arrive at agreements with its government, deals that will be in favor of Mexico and Mexicans.”
At the heart of the matter is a blatant disrespect for Mexico’s sovereignty, how Trump apparently thinks he can strong-arm the nation into bending to his will. Trump has also threatened to seize money migrant workers send home to pay for the wall — up to $25 billion annually — essentially threatening to commit theft.
Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that could lead the way for the wall to actually be built. In an interview with ABC News this week, Trump said U.S. taxpayers would initially fund the wall, with a bill being sent to Mexico for repayment.
USA Today reports that Mexican citizens had demanded Pena Nieto cancel the trip after Trump’s ultimatum, citing his bullying and xenophobic behavior toward the nation and its people.
Trump and his allies seem to view our neighbor to the south as an extension of the United States and not an independent nation. It is a very colonial and paternalistic view that is both offensive and jingoistic. This attitude is evident in the way Trump talks about The Wall he and his Republican colleagues seem hell-bent on building. What the new president does not seem to understand is that he cannot force an independent nation to pay for something that he wants to do.
Not even a full week into his term as President Trump is learning some very hard lessons: He cannot bully the world into doing his bidding, and it’s certainly not a pleasant lesson to learn. Pena Nieto is not the only world leader to directly oppose him.
According to the Guardian, after Trump reinstated the “global gag rule,” which bans federal funds from being sent to non-government organizations (NGOs) in foreign countries either provide abortions or advocate for abortion. The ban is effective immediately. The Dutch plan, which has the support of 20 countries around the world, will help fill a $600 million funding gap caused by Trump’s executive order.
Dutch international development minister, Lilianne Ploumen, told the press that her nation has a strong history of standing up for women’s rights, and realizes the new plan could create tension between Trump’s administration and Europe, but she believes the fund is necessary.
“I’m pro-choice and pro-women’s rights. It’s important to stand your ground. We respect the decisions of a democratically elected president, but we’re democratically elected too and we can make different decisions.
“This is about millions of women and girls who often have no voice or live in countries where democracy is less deeply rooted, and when they speak up they need our support.”
President Enrique Pena Nieto’s cancellation after Trump’s weak ultimatum will certainly not be the last snub by international leaders. In fact, the new president should expect collaborative resistance from leaders around the world who stand against his xenophobic and misogynistic policies. Trump may be bound and determined to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, but it’s doubtful he will be able to force Mexico to pay for it.
[Featured Image by Marco Ugarte/AP Images]