The U.S. government will ‘evaluate’ Mexico’s offer of hurricane relief, according to U.S. officials weighing the offer of assistance.
As Hurricane Harvey smashed into Houston, Mexico’s government offered to provide assistance.
The offer to help from Texas’s Gulf neighbor introduced a sensitive subject, given ongoing tensions between the two countries over President Trump’s border wall, which he has repeatedly said Mexico must pay for.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a tour of the Texas Department of Public Safety Emergency Operations Center in Austin, Texas, U.S., August 29, 2017. The U.S. has yet to respond to an offer of assistance from Mexico
‘It is common during hurricanes and other significant weather events for the United States to be in close contact with our neighbors and partners in the region to share data and cooperate as needed and appropriate,’ the State Department said, the Washington Post reported.
Foggy Bottom said it would coordinate with other agencies including FEMA to sort through offers of support, while making no commitment to accept Mexico’s aid.
‘In the event that federal assets are not available to meet a specific request, FEMA works with the State Department to coordinate and evaluate any offers of support from a foreign nation that may assist in meeting that need.
The nation has stepped up before to help its wealthier northern neighbor, providing troops and supplies following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Texas was once part of Mexico.
Trump said Monday Mexico would pay for the border wall ‘one way or the other,’ but Mexico has steadfastly refused.
‘We need the wall. It’s imperative,’ Trump said at a Monday press conference at the White House. ‘We may fund it through the United States but ultimately Mexico will pay for the wall.’
Residential neighborhoods near the Interstate 10 sit in floodwater in the wake of Hurricane Harvey on August 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas
President Donald Trump holds the state flag of Texas outside of the Annaville Fire House after attending a briefing on Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas on August 29, 2017
Carlos Sada, Mexico’s undersecretary of foreign affairs, told the BBC that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had ‘immediately accepted’ the offer when it was made, but that it was pending federal government approval.
Abbott was with Trump Tuesday during the president’s visit to the state.
Mexico office of foreign affairs said it hadn’t heard back from the U.S., the Daily Beast reported. ‘We still haven’t received any response,’ an unnamed representative said. ‘We made an offer, so we’re just waiting for Texas to inform us if they need anything.’