Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim gave a rare press conference on Friday and called on all Mexicans and Mexican political parties to support President Enrique Peña Nieto in his negotiations with US President Donald Trump.
Slim, who is typically press shy, said “a united Mexico” was ready to help the government negotiate, according to Reuters.
Speaking in Spanish, Slim called Trump a “great negotiator” who represented a major change in how politics will be conducted.
Slim spoke out against Trump during the election campaign but had dinner with him after his political victory, according to Reuters.
It’s clear that the government of Mexico is in a strong negotiating position, Slim said, according to Telemundo’s Elizabeth Mendezd. That Peña Nieto canceled next week’s meeting with Trump exemplifies that, he reportedly said.
Peña Nieto on Thursday canceled a meeting scheduled for next week with Trump after the US president warned he should not visit Washington, DC, if Mexico was “unwilling to pay” for a wall on its shared border with the US.
The best border wall is investment and jobs in Mexico, Slim reportedly said, adding that people will go wherever there are better employment opportunities.
Trump and Peña Nieto spoke on the phone for about an hour on Friday and have agreed not to speak publicly about the wall.
Slim repeatedly referred to Trump’s books, which he said he is reading to learn more about the man, and at one point reportedly opened one and read aloud to reporters.
“Page 9: the biggest problem in the US is political correctness,” he read in Spanish.
Slim also reportedly discussed immigrants in the US, saying they are not afraid of the dangers of coming to the US, not afraid to work, and hungry for success.
As for Trump’s plan to boycott American companies that have factories in Mexico, Slim reportedly said, “That’s wrong.”
On the Mexican peso, which has taken a beating since Trump’s rise to political success, Slim said the dollar-peso exchange rate is artificial and influenced by people like Trump tweeting, according to Bloomberg.