MEXICO CITY — Hillary Clinton said Monday Sept. 5 that she would not visit Mexico before the November election, delivering another setback to President Enrique Peña Nieto a week after he faced furious criticism at home for receiving Donald J. Trump, the New York Times reported.
In an interview with ABC News, Mrs. Clinton said she was declining the invitation from the Mexican president so that she could “focus on what we’re doing to create jobs here at home, what we’re doing to make sure Americans have the best possible opportunities in the future.”
Her decision is sure to prolong the condemnation that Mr. Peña Nieto has faced for his decision to meet Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, who has made criticism of Mexicans and Mexico a focus of his campaign.
Mr. Peña Nieto has struggled to portray the visit as a part of an evenhanded attempt to explain to both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, his Democratic opponent, how important Mexico is to the United States.
Although it was the Trump campaign that first approached the Mexican government about a visit, Mr. Peña Nieto sent invitations to both candidates in August. Mr. Trump accepted, and a meeting was hastily arranged for Aug. 31.
Mexico’s social media users responded with fury, and the outcry increased after the meeting when Mr. Peña Nieto was seen as having failed to address Mr. Trump’s insults to Mexicans.
A few hours after the meeting, Mr. Peña Nieto posted on Twitter that he had told Mr. Trump that Mexico would not pay for the proposed border wall, contradicting the Republican candidate, who said payment for the wall had not been discussed.
Since then, Mr. Peña Nieto has repeated his reasoning for the visit, first during a television interview on Wednesday night, then with a newspaper column and a public forum on Thursday.
He told reporters on Monday that he had also discussed the meeting with President Barack Obama at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hangzhou, China.
He said he had told Mr. Obama that “there has been interest on the part of the government of Mexico to open spaces of dialogue with those who are the candidates to place in full context” Mexico’s relevance for the United States.
After the report of Clinton’s decision, Mexico’s foreign minister, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, posted on Twitter that the government was in “permanent and productive communication” with the Clinton campaign. The Mexican news media has reported that Mr. Peña Nieto’s cabinet had been split over the Trump visit and that Ms. Ruiz Massieu had opposed it.
“We understand and respect her decision to propose the time for a meeting,” Ms. Ruiz Massieu continued.
Mrs. Clinton has a long relationship with Mexico, as first lady and as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
“Is anybody surprised that Hillary Clinton isn’t coming to Mexico?” Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez, a columnist and professor who has been a vocal critic of the Trump visit, wrote on Twitter. “It doesn’t make any sense for her.”