(CNSNews.com) – A State Department official told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments on Mexico have not “gravely affected” Mexico’s ability to do business with the United States.
“From the embassy bilateral level to date, we continue to work very closely together. In my personal opinion, I do not believe it has gravely affected our ability to do business together,” Daniel Foote, deputy assistant Secretary of State for the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, said in response to a question from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on U.S.-Mexico relations.
In announcing his presidential run, Trump said Mexico isn’t sending its best people to the U.S.
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting," Trump said at the time.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, Trump also said he wanted to “build the greatest wall you have ever seen” on the Mexican border to combat illegal immigration.
“I’m concerned about the rhetoric in the presidential campaign describing our relationship with Mexico. I know it’s a tough question for you. I just want you to say what you feel in your heart, because we need to know,” said Boxer.
“Mexican officials have said on the record that some of the proposal mentioned on the campaign – we know who we’re talking about here, a candidate who’s talking about building a wall, having Mexico do it, insulting Mexican-Americans here at home – that some of the proposals would have a cataclysmic effect on our bilateral relations,” she said.
“Has this divisive rhetoric affected diplomatic relations with Mexico at this point? Has it impacted the United States’ ability to work with the Mexican government to combat drug trafficking, and are you concerned that that type of rhetoric could just completely undermine what we’re trying to do here?” Boxer asked.
“And just for the record, she’s not talking about me,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a former GOP presidential candidate, who serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues.
“I am so not talking about you,” Boxer said.
Foote replied that he would “try to strike a balance between answering your question and not answering too deeply into our own domestic politics here.”
“I know it’s a tough one, but you know what? When people talk, it has real life impacts, especially a presumptive nominee,” Boxer said.
“You have all seen some of the reactions from south of the border, from our Mexican brothers and sisters. You’ve seen President Vicente Fox’s reactions and others. From the embassy bilateral level to date, we continue to work very closely together. In my personal opinion, I do not believe it has gravely affected our ability to do business together,” Foote replied.
“Mexico, in the last several months, has reiterated its commitment to continuing with the Merida Initiative. Where the populous of Mexico stands on this may be another matter, but we continue to be able to work closely together bilaterally on all—“ Foote said before Boxer interrupted him.
“So the words haven’t had an impact on what is going on at the very top levels in your opinion on the work that you are doing at this point?” Boxer asked.
“Not in their dealings with us,” Foote replied.