Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim has sought to assure his compatriots that US President Donald Trump is “no Terminator” but rather a wily negotiator.
Mexico’s richest man said his country was in a “strong position” amid a diplomatic spat between the neighbours, after Trump announced plans to build a wall along the US’ southern border and insisted that Mexico would pay for it.
“The negotiations will be challenging, difficult,” he said at a press conference in his office in Mexico City. “But Mexico is the best possible partner for the US. The US needs Mexican workers,” he said.
On Trump, Slim said: “He is no Terminator; he’s a negotiator.”
“I believe he is someone with a good understanding of people, intelligent. He probably provokes in order to do business.”
Slim, the fourth-richest person in the world according to Forbes magazine, met with Trump for dinner in December. The Mexican businessman is the owner of major mobile network operator America Movil and the New York Times’ top shareholder.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled a visit to Washington planned for next week after Trump’s administration signed off on a number of provocative measures. Slim thinks it was the right move to cancel.
Nieto, who is otherwise flagging in the polls, attracted cross-party support for the gesture. “It is nice to see the country so united,” Slim said.
Meanwhile, the media and telecoms mogul said a wall would not solve the issue of illegal immigration to the US: “The best border fence is jobs and investments in Mexico.”
*Reported by DpA