National Press Club

Ex-Mexican President Fox rips Trump's border wall, trade stances

May 22, 2018 | By Amanda Macias |

Former Mexico President Vicente Fox adjusts his tie before speaking at a National Press Club Headliners Luncheon May 22.

Former Mexico President Vicente Fox adjusts his tie before speaking at a National Press Club Headliners Luncheon May 22.

Photo/Image: Al Teich

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox slammed several of U.S. President Donald Trump's foreign policy decisions, including trade agreements and the proposed border wall, at a National Press Club Headliners Luncheon Tuesday.

Fox, the 55th president of Mexico, launched his criticism of Trump in his opening remarks, taking a shot at Trump's campaign pledge of building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

"Thank you for the invitation, Marta [his wife] and I are glad to be here, I had to jump a wall to be here with you to defend the First Amendment," Fox said.

The former president called Trump's wall a "stupid idea" and reiterated that Mexico will not pay for its construction. Fox also said that while countries have the right to protect their borders, the proposed wall along the U.S. and Mexican border will not work.

"It's proven by history," Fox said before drawing parallels between the U.S. border wall and the Great Wall of China. Fox noted that the Great Wall of China was costly and its construction was delivered on the sacrifices of many Chinese people.

"And what happened immediately was that the Manchus and the Mongols jumped the wall and conquered China," Fox said. "And so, it didn't work, that wall."

Fox also said that the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, is working and has improved Mexico's economy which has, in turn, reduced the financial motives for illegal immigration into the United States. He added that both the U.S. and Mexico will win if there is free trade, and recommended that the Trump administration keep the deal.

"As I said, [NAFTA] is for the betterment of the three nations, not this me against you and you against me and let's see who wins, that's the wrong start," Fox said of the NAFTA agreement between the U.S. Mexico and Canada.

When asked what he would say if he met Trump, Fox revealed that he had previously extended an invitation to host president Trump at his ranch in Mexico. He said that the two have yet to speak but that he would be glad to sit down with Trump and discuss a variety of political topics.

Fox also called on Trump to apologize for hurtful comments made about the citizens of Mexico during the 2016 presidential campaign and from the White House.

"Apologize to Mexico and to Mexicans and to my dear paisanos here that we are offended," Fox said.

Looking ahead, Fox said he is hopeful the Mexican presidential election on July 1 will produce a determined leader that can fight and preserve the country, its hardworking citizens, and the U.S.-Mexico partnership.