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Mexican president says he rushed into meeting with Trump

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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said his meeting with Donald Trump was hastily arranged and that he would take back his decision to host the GOP presidential nominee if he could.

{mosads}”It was very controversial and I accept that I took a decision. Maybe today it would be different, I think I took a very rushed decision,” Peña Nieto said in an interview published by La Razón newspaper on Monday.

Trump’s August visit angered many Mexicans, who lashed out at their already-unpopular president for hosting the American politician. 

Secretary of Finance Luis Videgaray, Peña Nieto’s closest cabinet ally, resigned in the wake of the visit.

“Could we have done things better? Maybe yes, admittedly. I think that this genuine interest to bring about a meeting to take care of Mexico’s interests, I think, could have been done in a better way,” Peña Nieto said in a separate TV interview Sunday, Reuters reported.

The Mexican government said after the meeting that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had also been invited to Mexico but had declined the offer.

Post-meeting, Peña Nieto repeatedly claimed he wanted to connect with both major party nominees to continue the close working relationship between the Mexican and U.S. governments, no matter who won on Nov. 8.

“Many times I have given the explanation of why I sought an encounter with both candidates, and it was only to care for Mexicans and the interests of Mexico,” said Peña Nieto.

Trump and Peña Nieto engaged in a Twitter exchange just hours after the August visit, with competing claims over whether Trump’s proposed border wall had been discussed.

Trump’s immigration policies, particularly the southern border wall he says Mexico will pay for, his vows to undo the North American Free Trade Agreement and his harsh rhetoric about the country in general, have turned Mexicans against him.

Polls released shortly before the visit showed Trump’s approval rating in Mexico at 4 percent and Peña Nieto’s at 23 percent. A poll shortly after the visit showed 85 percent of Mexicans thought the invitation had been a mistake.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

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