MEXICO CITY — Treasury Minister Luis Videgaray has resigned, a ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday, the week after Donald Trump travelled to Mexico to meet with President Ernesto Pena Nieto.
Treasury ministry spokeswoman Claudia Algorri said that Videgaray presented his resignation to Pena Nieto on Wednesday.
Algorri gave no reason for the resignation, but it came in the wake of Pena Nieto's widely criticized meeting with the Republican presidential candidate in the Mexican capital last week.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens to a translator as Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks during a joint statement in Mexico City on Aug. 31, 2016. (Photo: Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)
The president's office announced earlier Wednesday that Pena Nieto would have a message later in the day about a change in his government.
Pena Nieto has faced a truckload of criticism after Trump's brief visit, with many Mexicans complaining that the president was poorly advised by the people around him.
While some local media have said the visit was Videgaray's idea, Pena Nieto denied that in recent days and said the initiative was all his.
Pena Nieto slammed for not confronting GOP contender
Pena Nieto also has been ridiculed for not confronting him more directly about comments calling migrants from Mexico criminals, drug-runners and "rapists," and Trump's vows to build a border wall and force Mexico to pay for it.
The wall proposal has been criticized widely and fiercely in Mexico.
Speaking at a town hall late Thursday where he fielded questions from young people, Pena Nieto sought to defend his decision to invite Trump to visit.
He said the easier path would have been to "cross my arms" and do nothing in response to Trump's "affronts, insults and humiliations," but he believed it necessary to open a "space for dialogue" to stress the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship.
"What is a fact is that in the face of candidate Trump's postures and positions, which clearly represent a threat to the future of Mexico, it was necessary to talk."
"What is a fact is that in the face of candidate Trump's postures and positions, which clearly represent a threat to the future of Mexico, it was necessary to talk," Pena Nieto said hours after his annual state-of-the-nation report was delivered to congress. "It was necessary to make him feel and know why Mexico does not accept his positions."
He acknowledged Mexicans' "enormous indignation" over Trump's presence in the country and repeated that he told him in person Mexico would in no way pay for the proposed border wall.
Pena Nieto came under fire for not responding to Trump's mention of the wall during a joint news conference on Aug. 31, something he has since sought to correct.
A day later, Trump tweeted that Mexico would pay for the wall, Pena Nieto fired back his own tweet saying that would "never" happen.
Mexico will pay for the wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, also invited to visit by Pena Nieto, said this week that she won't be going to Mexico before Election Day. She called Trump's quick stop in Mexico City "an embarrassing international incident."