Mexico's former finance minister, ousted after Trump's visit, reportedly to be named foreign minister

Mexico’s president on Wednesday will revive the career of his fallen former finance minister and appoint him foreign minister just four months after replacing him in the wake of a controversial visit by Donald Trump, sources told Reuters.

Mexican outlets have also reported that Luis Videgaray would soon take the reins of Mexico’s foreign ministry.

Mexico City-based Reforma reported official sources saying Videgaray would take over for Claudia Ruiz Massieu as foreign minister.

Mexican newspaper El Universal, citing sources close to the presidency, reported that Peña Nieto had decided to make changes to the country’s foreign ministry.

El Universal also suggested that Massieu, who has held the foreign secretary position since August 2015, could move to the vacant secretary of culture position in the cabinet.

Videgaray is one of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s closest aides, but was replaced in September a week after the Trump visit.

When Videgaray’s resignation was announced in earlier September — just a few days after Donald Trump’s visit to the country — Peña Nieto did not give a reason for Videgaray’s departure.

Pena Nieto was subjected to a wave of criticism Trump’s visit, which was what many saw as poorly handled, given the real-estate magnate’s anti-Mexico rhetoric.

The Mexican president took responsibility for bringing Trump to the country, but reports at the time indicated that Videgaray had pitched the meeting as a chance to build ties with Trump and ease turmoil in financial markets — an important concern considering Mexico’s ongoing economic doldrums.

“He left because of Trump, no doubt,” Viridiana Rios, a fellow at the Wilson Center and columnist for Mexican newspaper Excelsior, told Business Insider at the time of Videgaray’s exit.

Videgaray, who got a doctorate in Economics from MIT, is held in high regard outside of Mexico, but attracted criticism during his tenure as finance minister because of the country’s weak economic growth.

Several weeks prior to his resignation, Videgaray reportedly met with Jared Kushner, a source close to the Mexican government told The Wall Street Journal in early September.

With Trump’s impending inaugaration as US president, and the ongoing struggles of the Mexican economy (some related to Trump’s looming presidency), it could be that Peña Nieto — himself extremely unpopular — is trying to shore up ties to the incoming White House.

Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters that Peña Nieto would announce Videgaray’s appointment later on Wednesday.

(Reporting for Reuters by Dave Graham; editing by Simon Gardner)

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