Two days after Donald Trump bellowed his call and response at a rally in Greensboro – “We’re gonna build a wall and who’s gonna pay for the wall – MEXICO!” – a voice of Mexico spoke in Raleigh about how things work in the real world.
Claudia Ruiz Massieu, the Mexican secretary of foreign affairs, addressed the City Club Raleigh’s national public affairs forum Thursday morning. Asked whether Mexico would be paying for a 1,000-mile wall, Ruiz Massieu smiled. In February, she called Trump’s policies and comments “ignorant and racist” and his wall idea “absurd.” But this time she said, “We are not focused on what we can do to divide ourselves.”
The secretary used her remarks to emphasize the bond between her nation and the United States. She stressed that Mexico is a major U.S. trading partner and that both nations benefit from cooperation. And cooperation will help address such problems as illegal immigration, illegal drugs coming from Mexico and guns pouring into Mexico from the United States.
Ruiz Massieu offered an important reminder of how much connects the U.S. and Mexico and how each can help the other. It was an encouraging contrast in message and tone from what was said in Greensboro. Mexico is not a problem or a threat. It is a neighbor and an opportunity for greater prosperity on both sides of the border.