After weeks of former presidents and other current low-level officials stating there was no chance Mexico would ever pay for the border wall Donald Trump is proposing, an actual government official came out and said it.
The country's Treasury Secretary, Luis Videgaray, told Milenio Televisión late Wednesday, "emphatically and categorically, Mexico will under no circumstance pay for the wall that Mr. Trump is proposing."
The GOP front-runner's proposal has been criticized widely and fiercely in Mexico, but the government itself has tried to avoid commenting directly on the issue until now.
Asked how much the wall would cost every Mexican, Videgaray answered that "there is no scenario under which Mexico would pay for that wall."
He suggested that "there are at least two reasons for that. First, the country's public funds are meant to benefit the Mexican public, and we have enormous needs ... In the second place, constructing such a wall is a terrible idea that's based on ignorance."
Since launching his campaign in June, Trump has used especially tough talk on immigration to vault to the lead of the Republican presidential field, and at a campaign stop on Thursday, Trump reaffirmed his intention to build a wall along the border.
"In New Hampshire, all the people said that the No. 1 problem was heroin," Trump told a rally in Portland, Maine. "And it comes from our southern border, and we're going to close up that border and build a wall, and we're going to stop the drugs from coming in."
On Monday, Mexico's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, described Trump as "racist and ignorant," but didn't address the topic of the border wall directly.
Two former Mexican presidents, Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón have in recent weeks stated that the country would not "pay for that f---ing wall," as Fox told Univision’s Jorge Ramos.
"The two largest trading partners of the United States are China and Mexico," Fox pointed out. "We're not talking about peanuts here."
Videgaray stressed that same point on Wednesday, noting that “every minute, more than $1 million-worth of trade crosses the border.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.