MEXICO CITY: Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto partly blamed Donald Trump on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) for the peso’s fall and he admitted he may have been too quick to hold an unpopular meeting with him.
After the Mexican currency hit the psychological mark of 20 pesos per dollar this week, Pena Nieto said the currency was affected by falling oil prices and the US Federal Reserve, which some feared would raise rates but kept them unchanged on Wednesday.
But he told Radio Formula that another factor was the “position that the candidate Trump has had about Mexico, and this uncertain scenario about the outcome of the US election causes this uncertainty about Mexico.”
Analysts have also blamed Trump for the peso’s drop.
The Republican White House hopeful has vowed to cut off billions of dollars in remittances sent by migrants to Mexico to make their country pay for a massive wall across the border.
A survey by pollsters GEA-ISA released on Wednesday showed that 15 percent of Mexicans see Trump’s August 31 visit as the “biggest error” of Pena Nieto’s presidency, topping every other issue including his handling of inflation, the economy, poverty, security, drug trafficking and corruption.
Pena Nieto asked both Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to meet with him but he told Radio Formula said he was surprised that the New York billionaire had accepted and decided to come to Mexico.
“Maybe we were hasty, maybe we didn’t ponder the social reaction that would take place in Mexico,” he said.
But Pena Nieto still defended the decision to meet with Trump, saying that it was “a rushed but correct route to seek dialogue” with someone who could become the next US president.
Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villareal said at a forum in New York that his country’s fortune is so tied to the United States that it “cannot afford” to affect bilateral ties.
“If we have to talk to the devil to guarantee the safety and the future of the Mexican people in Mexico and the US, we will talk to the devil,” Guajardo said, when asked about the possibility of Trump becoming president.
Pena Nieto shocked many in Mexico by meeting with Trump at his presidential residence even though the candidate has called migrants “rapists.”
The Mexican leader was criticized for not forcefully condemning Trump when they appeared at a joint news conference after their meeting.
The GEA-ISA poll showed that 69 percent of Mexicans disapprove of the job Pena Nieto is doing as president while only 26 percent approve, his lowest rating since taking office in 2012.
Another poll by the newspaper Reforma in August put Pena Nieto’s approval rating at 23 percent.