Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Monday Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden 'embarrassed' by 2016 campaign Dem senator: Trump’s EPA pick is ‘corruption’ Look to America's urban areas to create a permanent GOP majority MORE is using the sort of "strident rhetoric" that helped Hitler and Mussolini come to power.
In an interview with the national newspaper Excelsior, Peña said he "laments" Trump's proposal of building a border wall paid for by Mexico.
Peña also inveighed against populism, a constant topic in his discourse: "Sometimes I have pointed out the risks of populism, which is no more than those tones that can equally come from the left or from the right."
His mention of leftist populism is no accident: He used the adjective to target his opponent in the 2012 presidential race, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. López lost that election, as well as the 2006 election against former President Felipe Calderón, and is likely to compete in Mexico's next presidential election in 2018.
In a February ceremony, Peña received Vice President Biden, who said, "Some of the rhetoric coming from some of the presidential candidates on the other team are, I think, dangerous, damaging and incredibly ill-advised."
Two of Peña's predecessors joined the fray earlier this year. Calderón, succeeded by Peña in 2012, called the wall "stupid." And Vicente Fox, whose six-year term ended in 2006, had much more aggressive language, saying he would not pay for "that f--king wall."
Fox got Trump's attention. The billionaire decried the former president's language.
"If I did that there would be an uproar," Trump said, after threatening to make the wall 10 feet higher in retaliation.
The Mexican secretaries of finance and foreign affairs have also commented on Trump's proposed wall, calling it "absurd" and "ignorant."