Former Mexican President Vicente Fox didn’t hold back on Wednesday when asked on CNN about Donald Trump’s surprise visit to Mexico later in the day.
“He is not welcome to Mexico. By 130 million people, we don’t like him. We don’t want him. We reject his message,” Fox said on “New Day.”
He added that Trump’s trip is “nothing more than a political stunt” and that the GOP is using Mexico … to boost his sinking poll numbers.”
Fox is a fierce critic of Trump, who launched his campaign last summer with a speech in which he accused the Mexican government of sending rapists and other criminals across the U.S. border.
A core part of Trump’s platform has been the construction of a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which he has vowed to make Mexico pay for. Earlier this year, Fox memorably declared that he wouldn’t “pay for that f***ing wall.” Trump replied to Fox’s profanity by repeatedly telling supporters that “the wall just got 10 feet higher.”
Trump suddenly announced the Mexico trip Tuesday night, and the visit will occur just hours before the mogul gives a major address on immigration policy in Phoenix.
During his Wednesday CNN interview, Fox was also very critical of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. He said Trump’s meeting with the Mexican leader was a “desperate move on both sides.”
“I think the president, Peña, is taking an enormous political risk by hosting Trump. If he’s considered as going soft on Trump, it will hurt him greatly. He will even be considered like a traitor,” Fox said.
“I don’t understand what’s going on here,” he later added. “And I really apologize for our president taking this step forward.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 31, 2016
Peña Nieto defended the meeting on Twitter late Tuesday night. He wrote that he hoped to engage in a dialogue to promote the country’s interests around the world and protect Mexicans living abroad. He also said he invited Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
For his part, Trump responded to Fox’s interview not long after it occurred Wednesday morning. The GOP nominee said Fox also invited him to Mexico during their spat over the wall:
Former President Vicente Fox, who is railing against my visit to Mexico today, also invited me when he apologized for using the “f bomb.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2016