'They're Going To Have To Force Us' To Pay For A Wall, Says Mexico City Resident During Trump's Visit
When Donald Trump confirmed his plans to go see President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, the reaction from political leaders bordered on vitriolic.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign pointed to Trump’s general comments about Mexican-Americans. And Mexican opposition party leaders said there was no reason to welcome Trump. But did people on the streets feel the same way?
The Angel of Independence is a tall and golden monument in the heart of Mexico City. On Wednesday afternoon, a crowd of high school students walked by and spotted a group of protesters stationed on the steps.
Sandra Paola Cruz said they just found out what's happening by seeing all of this— “Ahorita nos acabamos de enterar viendo todo esto."
Her friend Ismael Lechuga jokes, “Osea. Donald Trump esta aqui? En Mexico?” Donald Trump is here? In Mexico? Really?
Well, he *was.*
Trump was just two miles away in the country’s presidential palace, meeting President Enrique Pena Nieto. But exactly how much do these students at the Angel of Independence know about Trump?
Well, Cruz said in Spanish, Trump has expressed his opinion. And in short, that opinion is that he hates us.
Of course, Trump has never said that. Though he has said Mexico sends its worst to the U.S., including rapists and criminals. But the students reflected a general perception in Mexico City.
Lechuga said that Trump puts people down, and seems unfit to lead. And he did not understand why Trump was visiting Mexico.
"Me entere y vine corriendo a protestar," said Alejandro Marquez. The 51-year-old said he was having lunch when he saw the news about the visit, and that he dropped everything. There were only 10 people at the Angel of Independence, he said, and he wanted to be the eleventh since he feels "humiliated" that the Mexican president invited a political candidate who has repeatedly insulted the country.
Marquez said that the person who should be standing up for Mexico is instead dining with its biggest bully.
In fact, the meeting was the gathering of two of the most unpopular public figures in Mexico. People here disapprove of Peña Nieto almost as much as they do of Trump. And the sign Marquez was holding reflects it.
“Enrique Peña Nieto. Dime con quien te juntas...”
'Tell me who you’re spending your time with, and I’ll tell you who you are.'
Just a few hours after leaving Mexico City, Donald Trump held a rally in Phoenix Wednesday evening. And the Republican presidential nominee confirmed he hasn’t backed off his plans to combat illegal immigration.
“We will build a great wall along the southern border,” Trump said to cheers at the Phoenix Convention Center. And Mexico will pay for it, Trump said, despite the Mexican president dismissing the idea before and after their meeting.
By late Wednesday night, there were no more protesters at the Angel of Independence; just a few couples out for an evening stroll.
Victor Alfonso Sandoval was sitting on the steps next to his girlfriend, and hadn’t heard (or cared) much about Trump’s speech. But he reacted strongly to a summary.
They’re going to have to force us, Sandoval said in Spanish. We’re not going to just let a foreign country put up a wall, and then make us pay for it.
So after the visit, it seems Trump's and Mexico’s positions have not changed. And for people like Sandoval, it would be fine if Trump doesn’t come back here anytime soon.