Donald Trump might want to come up with a new way to fund his wall between the United States and Mexico.
In a recent interview with CNBC, former Mexican President Felipe Calderón shot down Trump’s oft-repeated idea that Mexico would pay for the construction of a wall along the two countries’ border.
“Mexican people, we are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall,” Calderón said. “And it’s going to be completely useless.”
During the Republican presidential debate in October, Trump said that Mexico would pay for his border wall, repeating a claim he has made since late July. Trump has also called undocumented Mexican immigrants “thieves” and “rapists” and claimed that Mexico intentionally sends its criminals to the U.S.
“We’re going to do a wall; we’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door on the wall,” Trump said during the debate. “We’re going to have people come in, but they’re going to come in legally.”
“Mexico’s going to pay for the wall,” he added. “I love the Mexican people; I respect the Mexican leaders, but their leaders are much sharper, much smarter and more cunning than our leader.”
Trump claimed that “a politician can’t get Mexico to pay for a wall, I can.”
In September, Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, responded to Trump’s rhetoric, saying that his government “fully discredits and condemns any expression of a discriminatory character and [any expression] that specifically hurts Mexicans.”
Calderón, who served as Mexico’s president from 2006 to 2012, correctly explained that more people are leaving the U.S. for Mexico than the other way around.
According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 1 million Mexicans, including U.S.-born children, left the U.S. for Mexico from 2009 to 2014. During the same period, U.S. Census data shows, some 870,000 Mexicans immigrated the U.S.—a difference of 130,000 people.
These statistics contradict Trump, who has made illegal immigration a focal point of his campaign since his announcement speech in July and claims to have elevated the importance of the issue in the 2016 election.
After further claiming that such a wall, regardless of who pays for it, would be bad for the U.S. economy, Calderón lambasted Trump as “not very well informed.”
“It is incredible that a quite admirable society like the American society could produce such kind of candidates,” Calderon said. “I cannot understand that. No offense, no offense to America.
“So Donald Trump … is ambitious but not exactly [a] very well-informed man. I don’t want to say ignorant, but he is not very well informed.”
A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Calderón’s statements.
Photo via Tony Webster/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)