Carlos Barria | Reuters
President Donald Trump speaks with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017.
President Donald Trump is still insisting that he wants Mexico to pay for the wall he wants to erect on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sitting next to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the G-20 summit in Germany, Trump told reporters Friday that he “absolutely” wants Mexico to fund the barrier. The pair made comments ahead of a bilateral meeting that included Trump’s top economic advisors.
Trump’s statement about the wall came in response to shouted questions from reporters after the leaders made statements, so it is unclear if Pena Nieto responded specifically to Trump’s wall comment.
Trump has stuck to that campaign pledge to get Mexico to pay for the divisive project despite Pena Nieto repeatedly saying his country will not. The U.S. president has so far failed to muster the desired congressional support for the wall. Some Republicans who represent areas around the border have questioned its effectiveness.
A January meeting between Trump and Pena Nieto was canceled after a dispute over Trump’s pledge to make Mexico pay for the project.
Congress did not allot any money for wall construction in its bill to fund the government through September, despite the White House requesting funds. Some Democrats have said outlays for the wall will be a dealbreaker in future budget talks.
Trump recently proposed putting solar panels on the physical barrier, partly to raise money to fund it.
Aside from the border wall, Trump said the U.S. and Mexico have made “very good progress” on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump has repeatedly criticized the three-nation trade deal as a hindrance to American workers.
In a readout released after the meeting, the White House said Trump “noted the importance of renegotiating NAFTA.” It said the leaders also “discussed regional challenges, including drug trafficking, illegal migration, and the crisis in Venezuela.” It did not explicitly mention the border wall.
Through a translator, Pena Nieto said the countries were working toward renegotiating NAFTA and boosting border security.