Story highlights

"I would build a great wall," Trump said in his campaign announcement speech

"They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people," he also said

Washington CNN  — 

Donald Trump has mentioned Mexico frequently since his first day on the campaign trail. The GOP nominee’s first controversial campaign remarks on the country came in his presidential announcement speech, when he called some Mexican immigrants “rapists” and criminals.

Mexico has had its share of talk about Trump as well since then.

As Trump visits Mexico Wednesday to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, here’s a look back at some of Trump’s more memorable comments on Mexico this campaign – and how the country’s leaders responded.


– “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump said in his announcement speech. June 2015.

– “I am personally offended by the mainstream media’s attempt to distort my comments regarding Mexico and its great people,” Trump said in the days after his announcement speech. “I have many successful business relationships with Mexican companies and employ and am close friends with many Mexican people. I also have tremendous respect for the leaders of Mexico, who, frankly, are much smarter and tougher than our politicians here in the United States.” June 2015.

– “Some are good and some are rapists and some are killers. We don’t even know what we’re getting,” Trump said in an interview, further clarifying his initial remarks. June 2015.

The wall

– “I would build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall,” Trump said in his announcement speech. June 2015.

– “And I don’t mind having a big, beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into this country legally. But we need, Jeb, to build a wall. We need to keep illegals out,” Trump told opponent Jeb Bush in the first Republican debate. August 2015.

– “There is no way that Mexico can pay [for] a wall like that,” Peña Nieto told CNN. July 2016.

– “I’m not going to pay for that f***ing wall. He should pay for it,” former Mexican President Vicente Fox told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos. February 2016.

– “FMR PRES of Mexico, Vicente Fox horribly used the F word when discussing the wall. He must apologize! If I did that there would be a uproar!” Trump tweeted in response to Fox. February 2016.

War of words

– “Mexico’s totally corrupt gov’t looks horrible with El Chapo’s escape—totally corrupt. U.S. paid them $3 billion,” Trump tweeted about the escape of the biggest Mexican drug lord. July 2015.

– “I love the Mexican people, but Mexico is not our friend. They’re killing us at the border and they’re killing us on jobs and trade. FIGHT!” Trump tweeted. June 2015.

– “The leader and negotiators representing Mexico are far smarter and more cunning than the leader and negotiators representing the U.S.!” Trump tweeted. June 2015.

– Peña Nieto called Trump’s rhetoric “strident” in an interview with Mexican paper Excelsior and said: “That’s how Mussolini got in. That’s how Hitler got in.” March 2016

– “That could be a Mexican plane up there – they’re getting ready to attack,” Trump said as a plane flew overhead during a town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire. June 2016.


– “The closeness between the US and Mexico is more than a relationship between two governments,” Peña Nieto said during a visit to the US, saying he would work with anyone elected. “It is a solid, sound, unbreakable relationship between peoples who live in both nations. … I am certain the political process in the following months will be characterized by the intensity of the debate,” he said, offering his “deepest respect” to both Hillary Clinton and Trump. July 2016.

– “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!” Trump tweeted with a picture of him enjoying a taco bowl on the Mexican holiday. May 2016.

The judge

– “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal about why Gonzalo Curiel, a US-born judge with Mexican heritage, would be unable to preside over a lawsuit involving Trump University. June 2016.

– “He’s proud of his heritage. I respect him for that,” Trump told CNN later. “He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.” June 2016.

The Pope

– “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,” Pope Francis told journalists during a visit to Mexico when asked about Trump’s immigration positions. February 2016.

– “Somehow, the government of Mexico spoke with the Pope – I mean, they spent a lot of time with the Pope – and by the time he left, he made a statement … I think they probably talked about, ‘Isn’t it terrible that Mr. Trump wants to have border security,’ et cetera, et cetera. And the Pope made the statement,” Trump said, blaming the Mexican government during a CNN town hall in South Carolina. February 2016.

Not-so-warm welcome

– “Mr. @realDonaldTrump although you’ve been invited you are not welcomed. The Mexicans have dignity and we repudiate your hate speech,” tweeted former Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala, who is married to former President Felipe Calderón, according to a CNN translation. August 2016.

– “He is not welcome to Mexico by 130 million people. We don’t like him, We don’t want him. We reject his message,” Fox said on CNN about Trump’s visit. August 2016.

– “Former President Vicente Fox, who is railing against my visit to Mexico today, also invited me when he apologized for using the ‘f bomb.’ ” Trump tweeted. August 2016.

– “@realDonaldTrump, I invited you to come and apologize to all Mexicans. Stop lying! Mexico is not yours to play with. Show some respect.” Fox responded. August 2016.