Mexico’s president says Trump won’t build border wall: ‘It doesn’t work’

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he doesn’t believe former President Trump would follow through on his pledge to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border because of the two countries’ economic ties.

“Because we understood each other very well. We signed an economic, a commercial agreement that has been favorable for both peoples, for both nations. He knows it. And President Biden, the same,” he said in an interview released Sunday by CBS News’s “60 Minutes.”

When CBS reporter Sharyn Alfonsi asked López Obrador to respond to those who argue the wall “works,” he said a wall “doesn’t work,” adding he told then-President Trump the same during a phone call.

López Obrador said the two leaders agreed not to talk about the wall as they “were not going to agree” and the phone call was the only instance the two discussed it.

“That was the only time and I told him, ‘I am going to send you, Mr. President, some videos of tunnels from Tijuana up to San Diego, that passed right under U.S. Customs.’ He stayed quiet, and then he started laughing and told me, ‘I can’t win with you,'” López Obrador recalled.

Media reports circulated in 2019 that the Mexican president called the former president’s push for a border wall an internal matter and has since attempted to stay out of the discussions on the proposal.

In 2020, López Obrador — Mexico’s first leftist president in decades — said while he does not agree with Trump’s assertion the wall staved off COVID-19 transmission, he also would not publicly confront him over the claim.

López Obrador, at the time, asserted the relationship between the U.S. and his country was “very good” and emphasized the two nations “are not distant neighbors.”

The Mexican president also pushed back against Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) suggestion the U.S. could force Mexico to abide by U.S. immigration policy, CBS News reported.

“We are not a colony. We are not a protectorate of any foreign country. And we have a very good relationship with the government of the United States — but not one of subordination,” he said.

He also said President Biden has largely recognized Mexico’s sovereignty, asserting, “Every time I speak with President Biden, the first thing he says to me is that our relationship must be on an equal footing.”

The Mexican president did not hold back in his criticism of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), accusing the Lone Star State leader of “cheap politicking” with the U.S.-southern border.

Curbing the migrant influx into the U.S. is a central focus of Abbott’s gubernatorial term, and he has been in a standoff with the Biden administration for months over his handling of the situation.

The Hill reached out to Trump’s campaign and the offices of Johnson and Abbott for further comment.

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