Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Monday said his country will not pay for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump's proposed wall along the US-Mexico border, as he dished out serious criticism against the real estate mogul.
He said Trump's "strident rhetoric" is similar to the manner of speech adopted by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini when the two dictators began their ascent to power, reports Reuters.
Pena Nieto's comments to Excelsior are among the most critical comments to be made so far by a foreign leader against Trump.
Trump has stressed throughout his campaign that he intends to build a wall along the border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and make Mexico pay for the project. He has accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug runners over the border, and promised to increase fees on some Mexican visas and all border crossing cards to make Mexico pay for the wall.
When asked by the paper whether there was a "scenario" in which Mexico might go along with Trump's plan if he won, Pena Nieto said, "there is no scenario. I have to say that I regret (the plan), and of course, I can't agree with this American politician's position."
Pena Nieto attacked Trump's "populism," by which he proposes "very easy, simple solutions to problems that are obviously not that easy to solve. And there have been episodes in human history, unfortunately, where these expressions of this strident rhetoric have only led to very ominous situations in the history of humanity."
"That's how Mussolini got in, that's how Hitler got in, they took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps, which humanity was going through at the time, after an economic crisis," he said.
"And I think what (they) put forward ended up at what we know today from history, in global conflagration. We don't want that happening anywhere in the world."
Pena Nieto is not the first Mexican leader to compare Trump to Hitler – former Mexican presidents Felipe Calderon and Vicente Fox have both made the comparison.
However, in the interview Pena Nieto emphasized that he would try to keep a respectful relationship with the new US president, whoever wins the 2016 elections.
A number of foreign diplomats and public figures in the US have warned against Trump's rhetoric, and last week senior members of the Republican party took aim at Trump, with Mitt Romney calling him a "fraud" in comments backed by Senator John McCain. Other GOP sources recently said they would even prefer Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over Trump.