The Trump administration has not decided whether it will accept a standing offer from Mexico to provide disaster relief aid to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“If a need for assistance does arise, we will work with our partners, including Mexico, to determine the best way forward,” the White House and State Department said in identical statements after Mexico offered “help and cooperation” to aid U.S. recovery from the deadly storm.
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray spoke with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott by phone Sunday evening to offer aid “as good neighbors should always do in trying times.”
“The government of Mexico takes this opportunity to express its full solidarity with the people and government of the United States for the damages caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas,” the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Mexico offered similar help in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, sending troops, food, medicine, and water. The Mexican army drove a 45-vehicle convoy across the border and set up camp at a former Air Force base near San Antonio. The soldiers served 170,000 meals to hurricane victims, distributed 184,000 tons of supplies, and conducted more than 500 medical consultations over a three week period, according to Stephen Kelly, a former diplomat who was serving at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City at the time.
Their offer to provide disaster relief came just hours after President Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to insist Mexico would pay for a border wall and criticized Mexico’s crime rate.
“With Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL,” Trump tweeted. “Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other.”
Carlos Sada Solana, Mexico’s foreign undersecretary for North America, told the Huffington Post that Mexico’s offer “is open and permanent.”