President Peña Nieto canceled his trip to the U.S. scheduled for next week.
Earlier Thursday morning, President Trump said in a tweet: “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”
“Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said time again; Mexico will not pay for any wall,” Nieto said in a video on Twitter.
Tower Center and Texas-Mexico Center Executive Director Luisa del Rosal said the decision to scrap the meeting could have “deep economic implications” for both Texas and Mexico.
“The average American doesn’t realize the impact a renegotiation of NAFTA could have on prices,” she said. “They will care when the price of an avocado increases 35 percent. Texans will notice when their Ford trucks become unaffordable.”
On average, parts used to manufacture a car cross the border five times.
Elected officials seem to comprehend the gravity of what is at stake. None of the 38 Texans in Congress would voice support for Trump’s border wall, according to the Texas Tribune.
The Tower Center published a story on the importance of the meeting between the two presidents following a seminar from Dr. Rodolfo Hernández Guerrero, professor of contemporary politics of U.S.-Mexico at the University of Texas at Dallas.
In an interview after the lecture, Hernández said Nieto and President Donald Trump having these conversations face-to-face is significant for the relationship.
“That would be a very strong message for Mexicans. It demonstrates dignity. It’s an equalizer,” he said.
Jennifer Apperti, program specialist of the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, agreed that it’s essential for the two presidents to discuss the issues in person.
“We’ll be able to say we came to the table, we tried,” Apperti said. “We have to show that we’re on equal terms now.”
Reuters and other news organizations have reported that the U.S. is “scrambling to reschedule the meeting.”
A number of senior U.S. State Department officials have been asked to leave their positions as part of an effort to “clean house” by the White House.
These sudden resignations include: Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond, and Office of Foreign Missions Director Gentry O. Smith.
With incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s lack of formal government experience, these departures are alarming and experts are saying they could prevent the transfer of knowledge from senior officials who have worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations.
“Most of the resignations at the State Department are from career diplomats, and it will be very interesting to see if other career diplomats take their place or if they will be appointments from outside State,” said Apperti, who previously worked at Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the counterpart to the U.S. State Department.
“At this point it’s unclear if any senior level advisors with hands on experience will remain who are able offer their expertise to the new Secretary, in an ever more complex international context.”