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US presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves after a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (out of frame) in Mexico City on August 31, 2016. Donald Trump was expected in Mexico Wednesday to meet its president, in a move aimed at showing that despite the Republican White House hopeful's hardline opposition to illegal immigration he is no close-minded xenophobe. Trump stunned the political establishment when he announced late Tuesday that he was making the surprise trip south of the border to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, a sharp Trump critic. / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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US presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City on August 31, 2016. Donald Trump was expected in Mexico Wednesday to meet its president, in a move aimed at showing that despite the Republican White House hopeful's hardline opposition to illegal immigration he is no close-minded xenophobe. Trump stunned the political establishment when he announced late Tuesday that he was making the surprise trip south of the border to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, a sharp Trump critic. / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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Donald Trump on Mexico: Then and Now

Story highlights

Billionaire speaks of international politics and business opportunities

Carlos Slim is the fourth-richest man in the world

(CNN) —  

On the day before his 77th birthday, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim said he was celebrating, not his birth, but the unity of his country.

The world’s fourth-richest person, according to Forbes, on Friday entered a standing-room-only press conference in the same building from which he runs his empire, holding a set of papers with handwritten notes and a book with several pages marked, titled: “Great Again: How to Fix our Crippled America,” by Donald Trump.

With camera lights flashing, the investor sat down at a table, alongside his two sons and his son-in-law for a rare press conference, and began a pep talk that led to a wide-ranging discourse on economic development.

01:48 - Source: CNN
Mexican president cancels Trump meeting

“This meeting was a reason for joy and happiness and emotion, to see how all Mexico has joined together, ” he said.

Slim praised his country for solidarity at a time when the country is applauding its President, Enrique Peña Nieto, for canceling a scheduled meeting with US President Trump.

The leader decided not to meet with Trump after the US President tweeted, “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”

The last time Slim met with Trump was in December at the President’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. He described the dinner meeting as three-on-three. Slim was accompanied by his son-in-law and spokesman. Trump wasn’t alone, either.

“Meal was very cordial,” he said. “He’s got great estimation for Mexico and the importance of having a solid country as a neighbor, the importance of having more economic activity. There’s interest that things work, but he has talked about the inconvenience of commercial deficit.”

Businessman sees opportunities for Mexico

Slim has studied Trump’s actions and words.

He hasn’t finished reading the President’s book, but he is taking notes.

After holding up the well-worn paperback to the crowd of reporters, he urged others to read it as a way to understand the new American leader. After thumbing through a few pages, Slim quoted directly from the book to explain why Trump’s governing principles may not always be politically correct.