The presidents of the United States, Barack Obama (right), and Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, in a joint press conference in the White House. PATSY LYNCH AFP / Getty Images

President Barack Obama fiercely rejected Donald Trump’s representation of a country on the “brink of collapse,” asserting that violent crime including illegal immigration figures have fallen under his direction to the lowest rates in Decades.

Referring to the November presidential election, President Obama said, “We’re not going to make any good decisions based on fears that have absolutely no basis in reality.”

The US president spoke at a press conference with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Both presidents reiterated the importance of the relationship between their countries in an election year in the United States that has sometimes tested such an alliance. Peña Nieto and Obama expressed their commitment to strengthen relations between the two nations and stressed the benefits of trade and friendship between the two nations.

Obama said that “trade with Mexico has brought significant investment and jobs to the United States.” He said that “The US sells more to Mexico than to China, India and Russia all together”.

President Obama also stated that during his presidency he has worked to deepen the relationship between both North American countries. “We are not only strategic and economic partners, but we are also neighbors and friends,” Obama mentioned.

He also sought to downplay the two pillars of Donald Trumps speech during the Republican National Convention, with which he accepted the Republican presidential nomination. Mr. Trump said that if elected, he will “restore security” at home and abroad.

The president responded to a litany of statistics put forward by Republican candidate Donald Trump during the convention and said “illegal immigration and violence are less of a problem than they were 20 or 30 years ago”.

“This idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this view of violence and chaos everywhere, does not really correspond to the experience of most people,” Obama told reporters.

The violent crime rate, he added, has been lower during his presidency than at any time in the past three or four decades. While acknowledging an increase in homicides in some US cities this year, Obama continued to say that “the current violent crime rate is much lower than when Ronald Reagan was president in the 1980s”.

President Obama used the same argument when talking about immigration, saying the “border crossing is only a third of what it was during the Reagan administration”, and lower than at any time since.

The Mexican president, meanwhile, said that “I will not get involved in the US electoral process”, and he looks forward to having an “open and frank dialogue with whoever is elected”.

Peña Nieto avoided answering questions pertaining to Mr. Donald Trump’s promise to, if elected, “build a wall between the two countries and get Mexico to pay for it” said Trump. The president of Mexico has said before that his country will “not pay for the wall in case Trump is elected president”.

The two presidents also approved the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which both countries have signed. They said it will make the relationship between their countries even stronger. They explained that both governments have learned from the two-decade-old North American Free Trade Agreement that has largely criticized Trump.


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