MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto compared the language of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to that of dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in an interview published Monday and said it has hurt U.S.-Mexico relations.
Asked about Trump, Peña Nieto complained to the Excelsior newspaper about “these strident expressions that seek to propose very simple solutions” and said that sort of language has led to “very fateful scenes in the history of humanity.”
“That’s the way Mussolini arrived and the way Hitler arrived,” he said.
Peña Nieto until now had avoided direct comments on Trump, who has pledged to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, has labeled Mexican immigrants “rapists” and said they bring crime and drugs to the United States.
But as Trump has built a lead in the Republican primary process, current and former Mexican officials have begun to publicly express alarm. Former presidents Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón also have alluded to Hitler in describing Trump.
In the Excelsior interview, Peña Nieto said “there is no scenario” under which Mexico would pay for the border wall, as Trump proposes.
But he said he hopes cooler heads will prevail.
“I hope that prudence and restraint will prevail among the voters there, and at the end of the day there will be a government that we can seek dialogue with, as we have done with the government of the United States,” Peña Nieto said.
In another interview published Monday, with the newspaper El Universal, the president said he would be “absolutely respectful” of the U.S. political process. But, he added, “it appears to me that [Trump’s comments] hurt the relationship we have sought with the United States.”