Vice President Joe Biden tells Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto that U.S. campaign rhetoric about Mexico and immigrants does not represent the view of most Americans, in Mexico City, Feb. 25, 2016. 
Photo by Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Joe Biden to Mexican president: GOP rhetoric is ‘damaging’


Vice President Joe Biden told Mexico’s president on Thursday that he felt “almost obligated” to apologize for the “damaging and incredibly inaccurate rhetoric” expressed by some of the Republican presidential candidates about the country and its immigrants. That rhetoric was once again on display at Thursday night’s GOP debate, during which Republican front-runner Donald Trump responded to recent comments by officials that the country would not pay for the wall, as he continues to insist.

Mexico is “not going to pay for that f****** wall,” former Mexican president Vicente Fox said in an interview with Univision that will air on Sunday. ”Please, you Hispanics, Latinos in the U.S., open your eyes. It’s not to defend our race. Not to defend our creed. It’s to defend this very same nation that is hosting you. This nation is going to fail if it goes into the hands of a crazy guy.”

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When asked about the comment during the GOP debate, Trump fired back: ”The wall just got 10 feet taller, believe me. It just got 10 feet taller.” The candidate — who has been blasted time and again for derisive and insulting language — also called the former president’s use of an expletive “disgusting.” He reiterated the remarks on Friday at a press conference in Fort Worth, Texas, where he picked up the endorsement of former Republican presidential rival Chris Christie.

During Biden’s visit, the vice president didn’t single out any Republican candidates, but many have vowed to impose anti-immigration laws and stricter border security measures. “It’s a heated campaign season,” Biden said during his visit to Mexico City for an economic summit. ”I just wanted you to know, Mr. President, that the most heated of the rhetoric you’ve heard from some of the competitors for the nomination for president is not who are as American people.” 

At a press conference for his presidential campaign launched last June, Trump triggered national outrage when he said of Mexican immigrants, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Fox is not the only former Mexican president to denounce Trump’s anti-immigration proposals. Former President Felipe Calderón recently told CNBC that the Mexican government is “not going to pay for a single cent for such a stupid wall.”